The steps for eviction vary depending on the particular agreement you have with your landlord, with certain minimum state requirements. An important factor in determining what are your rights is the type of agreement and tenancy relationship you have with you landlord. First, you should determine whether you have a month to month tenancy, a current term lease, or an expired lease. Identifying the type of tenancy you have is the first step in identifying your rights as a tenant and the procedures your landlord would need to follow in order to succeed on his or her claim.
There are different types of documents that you might receive from your landlord that would begin the eviction process. The first document would be a notice to quit. The notice to quit is not an order for the court but serves as the official notice of the potential eviction lawsuit that could follow. A notice to quit is usually either a 14-day or 30-day notice to vacate, but these may vary depending on the type of rental agreement you have with your landlord. Receiving a notice to quit does not necessarily mean that you will have to leave the premises in that time period. There are different resources and options that can be discussed with an attorney that could help delay the eviction or allow you to reach an agreement with your landlord. Following the notice to quit you might receive a summary process summons and a complaint indicating that a lawsuit for eviction has been filed and the Court is now involved.
It is always important to remember that your landlord cannot use self-help methods to remove you from the property. These include, but are not limited to, going onto the property and removing your property, changing the locks or preventing you from entering the property in any way. If this has occurred, you may be able to sue the landlord for damages. In the end, only a judge can evict you from the property after a summary process was filed and judgment is entered against you. You and your things may only be physically removed from the property once the landlord has obtained a court order granting the eviction and the landlord hires the sheriff to regain possession.