When can a landlord terminate a lease and begin eviction?

This article looks at when a landlord can terminate a lease and the notice that is required.

Before a landlord can actually evict a tenant from a residential dwelling, he or she must first provide notice to the tenant that the lease or rental agreement is or will be terminated. The reasons for terminating a lease and bringing legal action against a tenant can be found in the Residential Landlord-Tenant Code, a summary of which is provided to new tenants when they sign their lease. To avoid legal complications and to ensure that landlords protect their rights, it is extremely important that they know when and how they can terminate a lease.

Failure to pay rent

Failure to pay rent is, not surprisingly, one of the leading causes for terminating a lease and beginning summary possession (i.e., eviction). When the cause for the termination of the lease is failure to pay rent then in most cases the landlord must provide at least five days written notice to the tenant informing him or her that the rent due needs to be paid within five days or else the lease agreement will be terminated. Keep in mind that for periods of less than seven days weekends are not counted, so in effect a five-day notice is seven days.

Violation of the rules

If a tenant is failing to adhere to the rules of the building as set down in law or by the landlord then the landlord can take measures to end the lease. The notice required to end the lease depends on the type of violation taking place. For most violations the notice required is seven days. If the tenant fails to remedy the violation before that seven days has expired then the landlord can begin legal proceedings. If this is the second time such a violation has occurred within a year, however, then the landlord does not need to provide a second notice but can, rather, begin summary possession actions immediately.

There are also other instances where the landlord can break the lease immediately and take legal action against the tenant. No notice is required if the violation in question causes or threatens to cause irreparable harm to any person or property or if, during the tenancy, the tenant is convicted of a felony or class A misdemeanor which did or could have caused irreparable harm to the property or people.

Expiration and month-to-month agreements

In situations where the lease is expiring or when the tenant has agreed to a month-to-month agreement the landlord generally has to provide written notice that the lease will not be renewed at least 60 days prior to the end of the agreement. Keep in mind, however, that there are situations where other requirements will also have to be met (such as a change in land use) before a lease cannot be renewed.

Legal help

A tenant who refuses to pay rent or violates the rules can be extremely frustrating for landlords. Any landlord who is having legal problems with a tenant should contact a real estate law attorney today. An experienced attorney can provide landlords with the legal representation they need to ensure their rights and interests are protected.