Can My Landlord Evict Me? (What Next)

It has now come to this… You have received an eviction notice.  Now, what do you do? Can my manager or landlord even do this to me?

Not all lease experiences go as planned.  Sometimes there is trouble with management, sometimes there are simple misunderstandings that turn into something more, and sometimes you just have those neighbors that have nothing better to do than complain about you all day long to management.  

Or, perhaps you did do something you aren’t proud of but are wondering if that is grounds for eviction.

Regardless, here you are, eviction notice in hand.   Are you being treated fairly, or are you being railroaded out of your own apartment?  Let’s go over why a landlord can evict you. 


The most common culprit: Nonpayment.  Everyone knows that there can be rough patches in life and making those monthly payments can get tough.

Keep in mind though that if you don’t pay or are consistently having late payments month after month after month, the manager or landlord can evict you for that.  

Landlords are simply running a business just like any other business.  If you went to Target or a Restaurant and told them that you were not going to pay for what you bought, or maybe that you would try to get them some of the payment in the next couple weeks, how do you think they would respond?  

Do you think they would let you stay in the store or restaurant or let you try to buy something from them again?   Probably not. After all, they have people waiting outside who are willing and able to pay the rent. 

Non-payment of rent is the most common reason for evicting a tenant.  Now, there are still rules to how to go about evicting you for non-payment, so make sure your management or landlord has gone about it in the proper manner.   

First, they need to give you a Notice to Quit.  This is a court document asking you to leave. There is a document called a “Notice To Pay”, but if the tenant hasn’t paid to this point and they have months of back rent sitting uncollected on the books, filing this notice is probably going to be a waste of time. 

After the Notice to Quit is received, the tenant usually has 5 days to get everything in order and move on to a new lodging.  This doesn’t mean that the tenant isn’t off the hook for the missed rental payments though, or any damages they made to the apartment during their stay.  

If your management had to go to the courthouse to file these documents, chances are he is going to file a small claims suit against you as well.  

This means that if the tenant is found guilty of not paying, money from your paycheck can be taken every month to pay the owner back for the months you didn’t pay. 

The majority of the other issues a tenant can be evicted for can be solved if both parties are willing to work together with each other.  However, failing to pay your rent is kind of a non-starter as far as negotiations are concerned.

You are going to lose most of your privileges and leeway with the complex the moment you cease paying your rent.   

Health Violations

These eviction types happen when the apartment dweller is messy to the point of it being a health hazard to themselves and the tenants around them. 

Many times, neighbors will complain about a noxious odor emanating from the offending apartment, which gives management their first clue.   

Can you get evicted for being too messy? YES, you absolutely can. Once the level of uncleanliness gets to the point where there is mold, bugs, and other vermin in the apartment, steps need to be taken for the benefit of both the tenant and those around them. 

Often times, the municipality itself will declare the dwelling a hazard, very similar to what you would see on a hoarding show on TV and give the tenant a certain amount of time before declaring the place uninhabitable.

Most apartment complexes want to avoid this eventuality however and will usually work with the tenant to rectify the situation.  

Illegal Use Of Property

If someone is illegally using the property, that means they are doing something at the complex, or in the apartment itself, that is against the law.  It is as simple as that.

If you are selling drugs, guns, or other contraband, you are going to be in violation of the Illegal Use Of Property clause in your lease agreement.   

However, this may be the least of your worries if a neighbor decides to call the authorities instead of your manager. 

Breaches of Lease 

When you signed your lease agreement at the beginning of your stay, you agreed to all the provisions and stipulations listed.  This means more than just paying your monthly rent on time. This can include things like:

-Taking the trash to the appropriate bin and not putting things in it like a couch you want to get rid of.  

-Respecting the noise policy during quiet hours

-Respecting the sanctity of other tenants’ dwellings

Repeated violations of any of these things are grounds to simply be evicted. The apartment manager will have any and all violations documented.  This means if a tenant is being a handful, they will have just cause to simply give you a Notice to Quit regardless if you are paid upon your rent or not. 

Property Damage

This can be a tricky one at the end of a lease cycle, but during the middle of the term, if management sees that the damage you have done or are currently doing is above and beyond normal wear and tear, they are probably going to be inclined to send you an eviction notice and a bill for damages.   

If there is damage that happened and you are willing to pay for it to get fixed, or you are willing to fix it yourself, most times that will be enough to satiate management.  However, it is the management’s job to keep every single unit habitable and to protect the property of the owner.

So, the damage that is significantly outside the scope of worn carpet or faded paint is going to end up being a liability for the tenant. 

Many people have questions about what they can and can’t be evicted for by their landlord.   Breaking any terms in the lease, not paying or repeatedly not paying on time, doing illegal activities on the premise, or causing undue damage to the property are all things that will earn the tenant an eviction notice. 

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John Boettcher

Co-Founder of Apartment School and a previous renter turned owner of many multi-family properties across the United States, with many years of experience in all aspects of the apartment, real estate, and investing world.

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