Eviction is the legal process by which a landlord seeks possession of the property from the tenant. The most common reason for an eviction is the nonpayment of rent. However, a breach of a material condition of the lease can also be the basis for an eviction.

The first step in a residential eviction is for the landlord to serve the tenant with a notice to pay or vacate. If a tenant has not paid the rent, the Landlord is required to give the tenant a three-day notice in writing to vacate the premises or pay rent.

The next step in the residential eviction process is for the landlord to file and serve an eviction complaint. After the tenant receives the complaint, they have five (5) days to respond to the eviction action or face a default (i.e. the loss of the right to defend the eviction action). If the tenant files a written response, the court will set a hearing on the case where both the landlord and tenant can argue their case. If the tenant does not respond, the landlord may ask the Court to enter a default judgment in the landlord’s favor. If a judgment is entered, but the tenant still fails to leave, the landlord has the right to ask the Sherriff’s Department to evict the tenants by serving the writ of possession.

Unfortunately, eviction does not break all legal ties between landlord and tenant. A former tenant may still make claims against their landlord for the return of a security deposit or advance rent. The landlord likewise may assert a claim for past-due or accelerated rent, damages, or costs.