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How to Write An Eviction Letter (Free Template)

January 2, 2020

In the unfortunate event that you need to evict a tenant, writing an eviction letter is crucial. This is the first step in the formal eviction process, helps to ensure that you’re in compliance with state and local laws. 

Landlords may send an eviction notice with cause when the tenant has violated the lease in some way, or without cause (typically a month-to-month agreement). Your local laws will determine how and when you must serve these notices to tenants.

The most important thing to understand is that an eviction notice starts the process. Without written notice and delivery, in compliance with state and local laws, a legal eviction cannot be initiated. 

An eviction notice must fundamentally include details regarding the eviction. Those details include: 

  • Cause (if applicable), 
  • The date the resident must vacate, and 
  • General personal information including names and addresses. 

Giving an eviction notice can feel daunting. Here’s everything you need to know about how to write an eviction letter to your tenants.

  • What is an Eviction Notice?
  • What to Include in an Eviction Notice
  • Eviction Notice Template
  • Final Thoughts

What is an Eviction Notice? 

An eviction notice, or an eviction letter, is the first step in the legal eviction process. When you serve an eviction notice, you’re communicating to your tenant that they need to vacate the property by a given date. 

This document also acts as a record of the fact that you gave your tenant sufficient notice of their pending eviction. In the event of your tenant refusing to comply, you may have to take legal action. So, keep a copy of your notice once it’s drafted.

Every state has its own unique set of procedures when it comes to serving termination or eviction notices to tenants. Traditionally, landlords send eviction letters via certified mail. However, this is not required across the board.

You may have a specific reason or cause to evict a tenant. Typically, these reasons fall under two categories: a financial or material violation. Specifically: 

  • Failure to pay rent 
  • Violation of the lease 
  • Property damage 
  • Reports of illegal activity conducted on the premises 

An eviction notice without cause is served in cases when the tenant hasn’t violated the lease or done anything to warrant an eviction. For example, when a tenant’s month-to-month lease has ended. These notices typically must be served up to 60 days in advance.

When to Serve an Eviction Notice With Cause 

An eviction notice with cause can be served after the landlord has evidence that the tenant has violated the lease agreement in some way. The eviction notice is usually served after they’ve decided to move forward with a formal eviction. 

However, in many cases, landlords will provide tenants with a warning notice outlining the lease violations or late rent payments. For example, they may give tenants a Late Rent Notice or “Notice to Quit”, or “Notice of Lease Violation” prior to the formal eviction notice. 

These notices, known as  “curable notices”, give tenants the opportunity to remedy their infractions. They can do that by making rent payments or ceasing their violations to avoid eviction.

However, most states allow an eviction notice to be served without allowing for tenant remediation. This is called an “incurable notice.” An incurable notice may be served in the following circumstances: 

  • Tenant’s violation of a significant lease or rental agreement clause
  • Late rent payment on multiple occasions
  • Severe property damage caused by the tenant
  • Tenant engaged in serious illegal activity on the premises (drug dealing, violating zoning agreements, etc.)

When to Serve An Eviction Notice Without Cause

An eviction notice without cause means that the landlord is asking the tenant to vacate the property without any specific cause or fault of the tenant. Therefore, many states have set a 30-day or 60-day notice requirement. 

Landlords in states with rent-controlled property laws will typically need to provide tenants with a legally justifiable reason for wanting to end the lease agreement. If you do not have a fixed-term agreement with your tenant, you may ask your tenant to move out at any time. 

Generally, a 30-day or 60-day notice to terminate a tenancy is required in most states when the landlord does not have a reason to end the tenancy. 

The exact timeline for required notices varies by state. It’s anywhere from 3-60 days. 

For example, the state of Colorado requires a 21-day notice. However, the state of Connecticut requires just 3 days. There may also be notice periods for non-payment of rent compared to other lease violations.

What to Include in an Eviction Notice

As a landlord or property manager, it’s essential for you to draw up an air-tight eviction notice. That means that you must include all of the following information. You must also follow any state or local statutes pertaining to the issue. 

Here’s what your eviction notice should include:

  • Addresses
  • Date
  • Tenant names 
  • Status and date of the lease
  • Why the eviction notice is served (clear and concise explanation)
  • Date tenant must vacate the property
  • Proof of service or delivery of notice

If you need some additional help writing an eviction notice, use our template below.

Eviction Notice Template (For Cause)

[Community Name]
[Street Address]
[City, State, Zip]
[Phone number and email address]

[Date]

[Tenant Name(s)]
[Tenant Street Address]
[Tenant Apartment Number]
[City, State, Zip]

Dear [Tenant First Name(s)] [Tenant Last Name(s)],

A formal written warning was previously issued regarding [state reason for issuing eviction notice]. Your [lease date] rental agreement clearly states in [state section of lease containing the violated policy and exactly what was violated].

Due to the failure on your part to uphold the rental agreement and [reverse and/or remedy] such infraction, the [Apartment Community Name] has no choice but to submit this notice of eviction as of [date served].

You have been given a total of [amount of time] to [state actions to be taken to avoid eviction]. You have [X days, at least the minimum required by law] to surrender possession of the premises located at [Property Address] to [Your (Landlord/Property Manager) Name], or to the landlord’s authorized agent or attorney.

Failure to comply will result in legal action, up to and including physical removal of all tenants from the apartment and the property.

If you have any questions regarding this issue, please contact the rental office and ask for [Your (Landlord/Property Manager) Name].

Sincerely,
[Your (Landlord/Property Manager) Name]

Eviction Notice Template (Without Cause)

[Community Name]
[Street Address]
[City, State, Zip]
[Phone number and email address]

[Date]

[Tenant Name(s)]
[Tenant Street Address]
[Tenant Apartment Number]
[City, State, Zip]

Dear [Tenant First Name(s)] [Tenant Last Name(s)],

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that within [X days, at least the minimum required by law] after service of this notice on [date served], you must surrender possession of the premises located at [Property Address] to [Your (Landlord/Property Manager) Name], or to the landlord’s authorized agent or attorney.

Your failure to vacate the premises within [X required days] will result in legal actions against you to recover possession of the premises, and to seek a judgment for damages for each day of occupancy after the expiration date of this notice, including but not limited to: treble damages, recoverable attorneys’ fees, and costs associated with any unlawful detention of the premises.

This notice is intended as a [X required days] notice terminating your month-to-month tenancy. Prorated rent in the amount of [X Dollars] ($___________ ) is due as of [date] and payable through and including the date of termination of your tenancy under this notice.

Sincerely,
[Your (Landlord/Property Manager) Name]

Final Thoughts

Eviction can be a complicated and lengthy process. As a result, it’s always important to ensure that you’re playing by the rules (the law). Prepare for any pushback you may receive. 

That said, an eviction notice is an essential step in the eviction process. Not providing one can land you in a heap of legal trouble. Remember, an eviction notice alone can’t force a tenant to move out.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to consult a lawyer before moving forward with the formal legal eviction process. They are well-versed in local eviction laws. They can advise you on how to move forward while following correct procedure including notice delivery. They’ll help you avoid mistakes like taking measures into your own hands (say, changing the locks on a tenant or turning off utilities).

The most important thing to remember when it comes to evictions is the law. As long as you’ve remained on the right side of the law and have complied with local regulations, your rights as a landlord are protected. 

Almost every landlord has to deal with an eviction once in their career. Preparing in advance can help to ensure that yours doesn’t cause you a lot of headaches, lost time, and money.

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AUTHOR
Olyvia is a Content & Media Associate at Apartment List, working to bring Apartment List's vision to life. Olyvia has a BA in Media Studies from the University of Virginia. Read More
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