According to Merriam-Webster, unlawful detainer is defined as the act of wrongfully remaining in possession of property. This can apply to multiple circumstances, and is a state a landlord must prove when beginning the eviction process. After someone has been determined as being in unlawful detainer, a judge will order them to vacate the premises, and may even authorize law officials to remove the person by force.
Who Can Be in Unlawful Detainer?
Anyone who retains possession of a property without the legal right can be in unlawful detainer. This can happen in a variety of ways, including the following:
- Tenants remaining on the property after the rental agreement has expired
- Failure to pay rent within the period specified in the eviction notice
- An unfixable failure to comply with the rental agreement
- Failure to fix a breach in the rental agreement within the time specified in the eviction notice
- Those with no prior legal right to possession of the property, such as guests who refuse to leave or squatters. These situations have no written or verbal rental agreement
In most cases, the landlord is required to deliver an eviction notice before the tenant can be determined to be in unlawful detainer. As long as the rental agreement is current, and an unfixable breach hasn’t occurred, the landlord must allow the tenant the opportunity to rectify the failure to comply with the rental agreement within a specified period.
There will then be a court proceeding, where the judge will determine if the tenant has a legal right to remain on the premises. Once this has been determined, the tenant may be evicted.
Eviction can be an extremely complicated process to complete, due to the number of steps and laws that must be considered before it can take place. Only after the proper steps have been taken can a tenant be evicted. Because the laws vary from state to state, it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced attorney in your area. For help with determining the best steps to take during your eviction case, contact us at LeBaron & Jensen today!