Definition– an eviction is when a landlord forces a tenant to move out. This is done via an eviction action, which is made up of five steps: 1) tenant gets a written notice to vacate; 2) tenant is served with a summons and complaint, delivered by a sheriff or other authorized process server; 3) tenant is allowed to respond; 4) court grands or denies the action; 5) Writ of Possession is posted if the court grants the eviction.
This is the only legal method of removing a tenant from the premises. Illegal eviction actions include shutting off a tenants utilities, changing or removing locks on the property without notice, removing doors or windows, and taking tenants property from the premises.
What It Really Means to have an Eviction Action?
A landlord can remove a tenant who fails to abide by the lease agreement or who fails to pay rent. For an eviction action to be legal it must be done through the court system, so that there is a record of the reasons why a tenant is being removed.
Thomas Tenant is leasing an apartment from Larry Landlord. Thomas has not paid his rent for three months, despite being asked by Larry several times. Additionally, Thomas’s girlfriend, Ginny, has been residing at the apartment for four months, even though she is not listed on the lease, and the lease specifically excluded the ability for Thomas to have a roommate. Larry Landlord is able to follow the court process in order to evict Thomas from the property, for failure to pay rent and for failure to abide by the lease agreement.