A Montana eviction notice is used prior to filing an eviction lawsuit to inform the tenant that they may be evicted if they fail to either vacate the property or resolve an issue concerning their tenancy. The tenant will often be able to avoid eviction by paying rent or correcting an infraction. In other cases, the tenant will have no choice but to move from the rental unit. If the tenant fails to comply with the conditions described in the notice before the notice period expires, the landlord is granted permission to end the rental agreement and file a lawsuit to evict them from the dwelling.
3-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment – Informs tenants that they must pay rent or move out within three (3) days following receipt of the notice.
Notice to Quit for Unauthorized Pets/Persons, Property Damage, and Access Refusal – This notice provides tenants with three (3) days to remove an unauthorized pet, remove an unauthorized person, remedy property damage, or vacate the premises. If the tenant has refused access to the landlord, their lease is terminated with fourteen (14) days’ notice.
Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance or Abandonment – For non-compliance, the form notifies a tenant of their lease violations and allows them fourteen (14) days to either fix the violation or move out. If the notice is for abandonment, it will inform the tenant that they have lawfully surrendered the property due to their abandonment.
5-Day Repeat Violation – If a tenant commits a repeat violation within six (6) months of an initial infraction, this notice may be delivered to inform them that they have five (5) days to vacate.
3-Day Notice to Quit for Criminal Offense – Informs a tenant that their lease is terminated with three (3) days’ notice due to their arrest or criminal charges against them.
30-Day Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Lease for Landlords – Landlords can serve this notice to tenants to terminate a month-to-month tenancy. The termination notice must be delivered at least thirty (30) days in advance.
30-Day Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Lease for Tenants – Tenants must serve this notice to landlords to terminate their periodic, monthly tenancy agreement. Notice of termination must be given thirty (30) days before the termination date.
- Grace Period: Not mentioned in state statutes.
- Non-Payment of Rent (§ 70-24-422(2)): Three (3) Days
- Unauthorized Pets/Persons or Property Damage (§ 70-24-422(1) & (3)): Three (3) Days
- Lease Non-Compliance (§ 70-24-422(1)(d)): Fourteen (14) Days
- Lease Non-Compliance (Repeat Violation) (§ 70-24-422(1)(e)): Five (5) days
- Criminal Offense (§ 70-24-422(4)): Three (3) Days
- Periodic Tenancy Termination (§ 70-24-441(2)): Thirty (30) Days
When a landlord wants to evict a tenant, they will need to first deliver to them a written notice stating the reason their lease is terminating and the date by which they must vacate the property, pay rent, or remedy a violation. Only after the tenant fails to comply with the notice requirements can the landlord advance to the filing of an eviction lawsuit.
Step 1 – Notice to Quit
The Montana Supreme Court Commission has prepared a Notice to Quit covering the majority of residential eviction scenarios. The landlord must fill out the notice to quit to include the personal information of both parties and a description of the reason for eviction. Once complete, it must be signed and prepared for delivery to the tenant. The links below contain information about the applicability of the notice in each specific eviction scenario.
- 3-Day Notice to Quit for Non-Payment
- Notice to Quit for Unauthorized Pets/Persons, Property Damage, or Access Refusal
- Notice to Quit for Non-Compliance or Abandonment
- 5-Day Repeat Violation
- 3-Day Notice to Quit for Criminal Offense
- 30-Day Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Lease
- 30-Day Notice to Terminate Month-to-Month Lease for Tenants
The landlord should make multiple copies of the notice and all ensuing court documents. After the notice is complete, the landlord can deliver it to the tenant by posting it on their door, delivering it in person, or by mailing it to the address of the rental unit.
Step 2 – Complaint for Possession
Depending on the cause for lease termination, the tenant will have between three (3) and thirty (30) days to pay rent, remedy a violation, or move out of the property. Failure by the tenant to comply with the notice requirements will allow the landlord to file a Complaint for Possession. The complaint must be filed in the district court, municipal court, justice court, or city court where the property is located. Before filing, the landlord should speak with a court clerk to determine the appropriate place to submit their complaint. Included with the complaint must be two (2) additional forms: Order Setting Hearing and Judgment. The Order Setting Hearing informs the parties of the date and time of the hearing. The Judgement will be completed by a judge after making an eviction ruling. Note that the courthouse will charge a fee upon filing.
- All paperwork needed to file an eviction lawsuit can be accessed in the Action for Possession Packet.
- The landlord can request a jury trial by printing “I REQUEST A JURY TRIAL” under the title of the Complaint for Possession. If a jury trial is requested, the landlord will be required to pay additional costs and it can also take longer to get an initial court hearing.
Step 3 – Summons
After filing the complaint, the landlord must provide the Summons form to the court. A clerk will input the case details into the Summons and return it to the landlord. The landlord must then provide the sheriff’s office with a Request to Serve Documents along with the Complaint for Possession, Summons, and a self-addressed and stamped envelope. The landlord will pay a fee and the sheriff’s office will serve the eviction documents on the tenant. Following service, the landlord will receive a Proof of Service in the mail which they must file at the courthouse where the complaint was made.
Step 4 – Tenant’s Answer
Tenants are required to submit an Answer to the court within ten (10) business days after being served with the eviction documents. If the tenant fails to respond after ten (10) days, the landlord may ask the court to render a default judgment in their favor. A court date will be set within twenty (20) days after the tenant’s Answer is filed. After the hearing date is scheduled, the landlord and tenant will receive copies of the Order Setting Hearing by mail.
- The Answer form is available in the Answering an Action for Possession Packet.
Step 5 – Prepare for Eviction Hearing
Both the landlord and tenant should prepare for the eviction hearing by collecting their evidence as well as copies of the eviction documents employed thus far. If either party intends to have witnesses testify in court, they must ask the court for a subpoena ordering the witness to attend the hearing.
Step 6 – Judgment
The court will review the evidence presented by both parties and issue a judgment. Should either party fail to attend the hearing, a judgment may be given in favor of the present individual. If the tenant wins the lawsuit, they will retain their right to occupancy of the rental unit. If the landlord is awarded an eviction judgment, the tenant will be required to vacate the property within a period of time determined by the judge.
Step 7 – Enforce Eviction Judgment
If the tenant continues to occupy the premises after being ordered to vacate, the landlord must deliver a Writ of Assistance to the sheriff’s office and request that they evict the tenant. Law enforcement will then visit the dwelling to remove the tenant from the property.
The following documents are included in the Action for Possession Packet:
- Complaint for Possession
- Signing: Landlord
- Signing: Court Clerk
- Request to Serve Documents
- Signing: Landlord
- Proof of Service
- Signing: Deputy Sheriff
- Order Setting Hearing
- Signing: Judge
- Signing: Judge
Additional Court Forms: