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Eviction Process

Updated on April 7, 2012

An eviction is a process by which a tenant is deprived of the use and enjoyment of leased premises. The usual grounds for eviction are nonpayment of rent, expiration of the lease term, violation of lease provisions, or termination of the landlord's interest in the property- for example, when the property is taken by governmental action under the right of eminent domain.

In an actual eviction, the tenant is summarily deprived of physical possession of the premises. Constructive eviction legally permits a tenant to abandon the premises and excuses him from further payment of rent if a landlord has been substantially negligent or delinquent, as in the failure to provide heat or water. In a total eviction, the tenant is deprived of the entire premises. A partial eviction deprives him of a portion of the premises, but in most states this suspends his obligation to pay any rent. In other states he can either abandon the premises or pay a proportion of the rent.

In most states a landlord may remove a tenant without the use of legal process if such self-help eviction can be accomplished peacefully.

Where a tenant refuses, most states have enacted summary eviction proceedings to provide a speedy, inexpensive, and equitable method of removing a tenant, if justified. After a trial in summary proceedings, the landlord, if successful, obtains a judgment and a warrant of eviction that authorizes a marshal or sheriff to remove the tenant and return possession of the premises to the landlord.


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