How to evict someone off of your property if there is no lease

Written by ciele edwards
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How to evict someone off of your property if there is no lease
You can seek legal help to evict a tenant. (gavel image by Cora Reed from

A lease serves to protect both landlord and tenant by forcing both parties to adhere to the agreement. Unfortunately, a lease also can make it more complicated for a landlord to effectively evict the tenant. If an individual is renting from you without a lease, he is said to have a "periodic tenancy." Because a periodic tenancy has no terms and is merely defined by the individual living in a certain area and paying each month to do so, a landlord can evict the tenant without needing to prove that any agreements were broken.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Find out how much notice you must provide a periodic tenant to be able to evict in your state. Typically you must provide 30 days notice, but the laws regarding ending a periodic tenancy vary depending on where you live.

  2. 2

    Send a "Notice to Vacate" to your tenant via registered mail with a return receipt. This is a written notice, often referred to as an "eviction notice," that states that you are ending a renter's tenancy. You can write your own Notice to Vacate. The Notice to Vacate should notify the tenant of the date the tenancy is to be cancelled and your contact information. Expect the individual to contact you with questions. Keep in mind, however, that because of the lack of a lease you are not required to discuss your reasoning with the tenant.

  3. 3

    File an Unlawful Detainer action against the tenant if he does not move out by the date stipulated in the Notice to Vacate. This is a specific type of lawsuit against an individual for unlawfully occupying a property. You should file the lawsuit at your local courthouse with the county clerk. An attorney is not required to do this. You then will be assigned a hearing date by the court.

  4. 4

    Attend the court hearing. Bring a copy of the Notice to Vacate that you originally sent to the tenant and a copy of the return receipt bearing the tenant's signature. The court will then notify the tenant that he must move. If he fails to do so within the time frame specified by the court, the sheriff will forcibly remove him and his belongings from the property.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are forced to go to court to secure an eviction, you can request that the court force your tenant to pay your court costs. If you choose to hire an attorney, you can include your attorney's fee in your lawsuit.
  • Eviction laws vary by state. Be familiar with your state's eviction regulations before proceeding.

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