You may own the property you have leased to your tenant, but you cannot kick them out any time you wish. Therefore, you need to follow the law when you need them to vacate your premises. Otherwise, it could amount to an unlawful eviction, which can be consequential.
In equal measure, you cannot act in ways that will force your tenant to move out of the premises. For example, in a bid to get tenants out of their property, some landlords resort to measures like changing locks or shutting down utility services. Such conduct is considered illegal, and you may have to deal with the consequences of an unlawful eviction if the tenant decides to sue.
When can an eviction be considered illegal?
Simply put, you need to have valid reasons to evict a tenant from your property lawfully. For example, did they violate the lease agreement? Are they defaulting on rent? All these can be legal grounds to evict your tenant.
However, you cannot lawfully evict your tenant based on their race, color, religion, or other individual characteristics. Any form of discrimination cannot form the basis of a legal eviction.
Finally, you cannot evict your tenant because they took part in activities protected by law. They include:
- Organizing or joining a tenants association
- Withholding rent due to bad conditions at their leased premises
- Reporting violations of the law to officials like the health department, among others
All these can amount to retaliatory eviction, which is against the law.
Protecting your interests
As a landlord, you need to learn more about what the law says regarding illegal evictions to ensure you are on the safe side. Doing so will provide a seamless eviction process while protecting you from any adverse consequences of unlawful eviction.