If you are a landlord, you must understand that you cannot evict a tenant without just cause. However, there are various reasons why you have the right to remove a tenant.
If there is a violation that justifies eviction, there are steps you must take to ensure it occurs properly and legally.
Valid reasons for eviction
According to the Delaware General Assembly, the lease outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the tenant and landlord. There is generally a justification to begin the eviction process if a tenant does not follow the terms laid out in the lease. Some reasons a landlord may evict a tenant include:
- Unpaid rent
- Illegal activities on the premises
- Causing harm to another while on the rental property
- Other lease term violation
A landlord may not evict for retaliatory or discriminatory reasons.
Give written notice of the violation
Unless the reason is irreparable harm to another, the landlord must give the tenant written notice of the issue. Depending on the reason, the tenant may have a reasonable time, such as five or seven days, to remedy the situation, such as catch up on rent payments, in order to avoid eviction. However, if the tenant violated the law as well as violated the lease, the landlord can issue a seven-day unconditional notice, in which there is no remedy, and the process will begin in seven days.
Go through the court process
For an official eviction, you must submit evidence to the court that the tenant violated conditions of the lease and did not remedy the situation in time. There will be a scheduling of a judge-only trial, and an official of the court will serve papers to the tenant. If the judge grants the eviction, a law enforcement officer will assist with the removal of the tenant.