Terminating a lease requires advance notice.The amount of notice necessary can vary according to lease terms, but cannot go below the minimums provided by statute. A landlord can end a month-to-month lease arrangement at any time and for any reason unless the landlord is retaliating or discriminating against the tenant; the notice period for a month-to-month lease is one month. A landlord also may refuse to renew a lease for any reason, subject to the terms of the lease agreement and so long as there is no discriminatory or retaliatory intent. When dealing with a lease that is for a set period of time, e.g., one year, requirements for notice of termination are generally set forth in the written lease agreement.
Tenants that remain at the premises beyond the terms of the lease are known as "holdover tenants." If the tenant refuses to vacate the premises, a landlord cannot forcibly remove a tenant. Generally, a landlord is required to file an “unlawful detainer” action with the district court where the rental property is located. Engaging is self-help is illegal; a landlord cannot forcibly remove you on his or her own, including by changing the locks to the property. After filing an unlawful detainer action, the court will set a date for a hearing and the tenant must be given notice of this proceeding. There are multiple procedural hurdles with which landlords must strictly comply. At the hearing, the tenant will have an opportunity to present his or her case. The landlord has the same opportunity and must prove compliance with all notice and procedural requirements. If the Court decides that the landlord has proven his or her case, it will issue an order requiring that the tenant vacate the premises. Generally, the tenant is required to vacate immediately. If the tenant refuses, the Sheriff’s Department has the right to forcefully remove the tenant. In this scenario a tenant forcibly removed will usually have to pay fees and costs associated with the removal to recover their property.
If you have been served notice of an eviction or have a tenant that refuses to vacate, you should schedule an appointment with an attorney experienced in these matters to determine how best to proceed.