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How to legally evict a renter from your DC rowhomes for rent

EJF Real Estate Services - Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Do you have DC rowhomes for rent? Do you want to evict your renter? Then you should be sure to follow your state's laws. A property owner cannot begin an eviction lawsuit without first legally terminating the tenancy. You have to get a lawyer and follow your state's rules to terminate a tenancy. Also, self-eviction or self-help evictions are illegal, such as lock-outs and utility shut-offs. 

This blog is not a substitute for legal advice; you must get a lawyer to evict your renter from your DC rowhomes for rent. You have to do everything in writing; the property owner must give the renter written notice. If the renter doesn't move or fix the problem, then the property owner can file a lawsuit to evict.

One great way to avoid having to evict in the first place is with better renter screening. You cannot evict your renter just because you found a better one for your DC rowhomes for rent. You must have a legal reason to evict a renter and follow the state laws to end a tenancy. But you can place better renters from the start with the right screening process.

EVICTION ORDER Stamp In Red On White BackgroundWhat are the legal reasons to evict a renter?

These are the reason that you must prove to the courts to evict a renter from your DC rowhomes for rent:

  1. The renter didn't pay the rent.
  2. The residents violated the lease agreement, like keeping a dog when your lease forbid pets. 
  3. The residents violated the law within the property, such as selling drugs. 
  4. The residents caused significant damage to the property. 
  5. The residents are maintaining a drug haven within the property. 
  6. The residents caused healthy or safety-related hazards. 

Can I evict a renter to renovate my DC rowhomes for rent?

If your property has to be rehabilitated or renovated, then you can evict your renter. Also, you can evict your renter if you intend to renovate the property. 

However, you can also evict your renter if you intend to demolish the property. Another reason to evict your renter is that you want to take back the property for your immediate and personal use. Finally, you can evict your renter if the property is no longer going to be used as rental housing.

There are different types of termination notice you must serve, depending on the situation and state laws.  

Types of termination notice

Before filing an eviction lawsuit, the property owner must give the renter a termination notice. There are three types of termination notices. A property management company can help property owners better understand which type of notice they need to use.

Notice to quit

Property investors use this notice when the renter has not paid the rent. The property owner gives the renter a few days to pay the rent or move out. 

Sometimes the renter agreed (in the lease) to give up the right to receive the quit notice before being sued for eviction. So, the lease “acts” as the renter’s notice to quit or vacate, and the property owner no longer has to serve the renter with further notice before eviction. You should get a lawyer to check the lease and follow your state’s laws. Even if the notice tells the renter that he or she must vacate the property, the property owner cannot force the renter to move out until you have a judgment for possession from the courts. So, if the renter receives the notice and doesn’t pay the rent by the deadline in the notice, the property owner can file an eviction lawsuit.  

Notice to cure or vacate

Property investors give this notice after a renter violated a term or condition of the lease. The renter has at least 30 days to correct the violation. If the renter fails to fix it, the renter must move out or get sued. The property owner must give the renter information about how he or she violated the lease, and how to fix the violation. 

Notice to unconditional quit

Property investors use this notice when the renter violates the lease; being late with the rent repeatedly, seriously damaged the property, or is involved in serious illegal activities. The renter must move out, and the renter doesn’t have a chance to pay the rent or fix it.  

3d man kicked out the doorHow to legally evict a renter

If the property owner wins an eviction suit, the property owner receives a judgment for possession of the property. Also, the property investor may receive an order that the renter has to pay any unpaid rent. The property investor must follow the state's procedures to evict a renter. Self-help eviction is illegal; this means that the property owner cannot lock the tenant out or turn off utilities. 

In some states, when the renter has left permanently, the property owner can dispose of the property. The property owners must follow the state storage and notification procedures. 

In many states, the property owner must give the court judgment to the sheriff or local law enforcement to carry out the eviction. So, the local law enforcement serves the renter a notice that he or she will physically remove the renter in few days.   

If you want to evict a tenant from your DC rowhomes for rent, we can provide advice and guidance to evict the renter. Download the tenant eviction checklist today to learn more about your rights and how to evict a tenant the right —and legal—way!