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Notice to Quit for Illegal Activity | Eviction Notice

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An eviction notice for illegal activity is a letter that is delivered to tenants upon discovering they were involved in or committed an illegal activity on the rental premises. Evicting a tenant for breaking the law on the premises is governed by the laws of the state in which the property is located, which can require landlords to wait up to fourteen (14) days after delivering the notice to begin formal eviction proceedings.

Contents

Notices: By State

Note: The states below have laws in place for evicting specifically for illegal activity. For states not included on the list, landlords can use either the generic (non-state specific) eviction notice or an eviction notice for non-compliance.


Sample Notice to Quit

NOTICE TO QUIT FOR ILLEGAL ACTIVITY

 

Date: [MM/DD/YYYY]
To: [TENANT NAME(S)]
Property Address: [RENTAL ADDRESS]

Per your Lease and the laws located in [STATE], after you have been served this notice, you are hereby given the following instructions:

Within [#] days, you are hereby required to quit and deliver possession of the Premises due to the following illegal acts: [DESCRIBE ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES].

YOU ARE FURTHER NOTIFIED that the Landlord elects to declare the forfeiture of your Lease under which you hold possession of the Premises if you fail to comply. Such noncompliance will institute legal proceedings to recover rent and possession of said Premises which shall result in a judgment against you, including costs and necessary disbursements together with possible statutory damages as allowed by law.

Landlord / Agent Signature: ________________________
Printed Name: [LANDLORD NAME]


CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I certify that on [MM/DD/YYYY], I served this notice to [RECIPIENT NAME] by:

– Delivering it personally to the person in possession of the Premises.
– Delivering it to the Premises to a member of the Tenants’ family or household or an employee of suitable age and discretion with a request that it be delivered to the person in possession.
– Certified first-class mail addressed to the person in possession.

Landlord / Agent Signature: ________________________


How to Evict a Tenant for Illegal Activities

Step 1 – Understand the Signs of Illegal Activity

Landlords can face severe repercussions by permitting illegal activities on their rental property. Fines, endangerment to other tenants, complaints, and lawsuits are all plausible when a tenant engages in criminal activities in or near the rental. While tenant applications, interviews, and other screening tools can help to prevent signing a lease with an unsuitable tenant, there’s no way to prevent it entirely. Oftentimes, the best defense is having a solid understanding of the signs of criminal activity and taking a fast, unwavering approach to fixing the issue. The following list contains some of the signs of criminal activity:

  • High utility/electricity usage – can be a sign of a tenant growing marijuana, as it requires significant electricity and water usage.
  • Visitors/guests frequently coming and going – tenants that are dealing drugs out of the property may have visitors during all hours of the day.
  • Odd odors – the fumes that are produced from manufacturing drugs (not just marijuana) can often be smelled from outside the unit.
  • Fighting/yelling – while not all yelling is domestic abuse, it is a common warning sign and can lead to physical altercations.
  • Neighbors complaining – often, the best clue as to illegal activity is other tenants complaining. Since they are around their neighbors more often than the landlord, they may notice unusual activity more quickly. If a tenant complains, take it seriously.

Step 2 – Consult an Attorney

If the landlord truly believes one of their tenants is engaging in illegal activity, an attorney specializing in landlord-tenant law should be contacted, as state law requires the eviction process to be explicitly handled to ensure the tenant’s rights are not violated.

Step 3 – Start Documenting

Save everything related to the tenant’s wrongdoing. Utility records, tenant complaints, emails with the tenant (suspected of wrongdoing), and even photographs can all be used later to prove to a judge that the tenant conducted illegal activity. The police can be contacted to see if the tenant was arrested for the suspected activity. If so, their arrest record can be used to further add weight to the landlord’s claim.

Step 4 – Complete + Serve the Eviction Notice

Download a state-specific template (or use the standard template) and complete all applicable fields on the form. Once completed, the form can be delivered to the tenant. For states that don’t have statutes relating to evicting for illegal activity, the laws pertaining to non-compliance should be referenced. Additionally, many states require landlords to deliver the notice in a way that proves the notice was delivered on a specific date (typically through certified mail).


Frequently Asked Questions

Can a landlord give consent for police to search a rental?

No. Tenants are protected in very similar ways to homeowners in that a search warrant would need to be obtained prior to having the police conduct a search. A search warrant is a document that is signed by a judge giving the police permission to enter a specific rental unit/property. A judge will only sign the warrant if there is probable cause that criminal activity is occurring in the property (or there are items in the property believed to be linked to a crime). Tenants should keep in mind that fellow roommates can give police consent to search the rental, although the police wouldn’t be able to search another roommate’s room if consent wasn’t given.

Does a tenant's arrest automatically evict them?

No. A tenant being arrested is a different situation altogether. While this is a valid reason for eviction, a landlord still has to go through the entire eviction process as before. This is because state and federal laws preserve a tenant’s right to live in a rental property.