An Overview Of Unlawful Detainer Process

As a property owner, there may come a time when you need to force someone off your property. You will need an unlawful detainer if that time comes.

What It Means

An unlawful detainer is a legal process property owners use to remove people from your premises. The process applies to those unlawfully occupying the properties. For example, you can use an unlawful determiner process to evict:

  • A tenant who refuses to vacate their rental premises even after their lease ends
  • A tenant who refuses to pay their rent
  • A tenant who violates their lease terms, for example, by conducting unauthorized renovations
  • Squatters who move into vacant properties without permission
  • Sub-letters who move into rental properties without the landlord's permission

The above are the common circumstances that may lead to unlawful determiner, but you can execute the process anytime you have an unauthorized person on your property.

The Process

As a property owner, you cannot just evict people from your properties. You need the court's permission, which you get by filing your case in court and following the relevant process. Below is the normal process to follow.

The Landlord Issues an Eviction Notice

Ideally, unauthorized persons should vacate your property once you notify them. Thus, the first thing you should do to get others off your property is give them an eviction notice. Unfortunately, such notices do not always work, and you will need a court process.

The Landlord Files an Unlawful Detainer Complaint

Get the relevant forms and file your unlawful detainer case with the right court. Serve the person you want to evict with the summons. The summons is a legal document notifying the defendant that they have a court case to answer and directing them on what to do next.

The Court Deliberates On the Issue

The court will require both parties to appear and state their cases. The appearance is your opportunity to explain why you have the legal right to evict the defendant. The defendant will also explain why they deserve to stay on your property. The court then deliberates and rules on the eviction.

The Landlord Requests a Writ of Possession

Ideally, the defendant should vacate the premises once the court orders them to do so — many people will. However, you may have to forcefully evict a stubborn occupier and need a writ of possession. The writ allows you to use the authorities to forcefully get the defendant out of your premises.

For more information on real estate law, contact a professional near you.