Updated August 2020
Keeping to a timeline is one of the hardest parts of being a landlord. Even when you’ve made lists, plans, and schedules galore, unexpected obstacles can often throw you off by weeks or even months when you least expect.
And in the rental property business, time is money!
One situation that can be terrifying to landlords for a number of reasons (including how long it can take) is the eviction process. When you end up needing to evict a tenant, it can become nearly impossible to plan into the future because of how unfamiliar the process is.
When you’re a landlord who hasn’t had much experience with evictions, you might be left wondering how long it takes to evict someone. Can I start looking for new tenants? How can I make the process go faster?
Every eviction process is different, but having a general idea of how long it takes to evict a tenant is important for your scheduling and bottom line.
Let’s talk about the key things you need to know as a landlord when it comes to eviction timelines. With this information, you’ll save yourself from a lot of frustration!
A Table Of Contents About How Long To Evict A Tenant
- State Differences Matter
- How Long Does An Eviction Take?
- What Can Slow An Eviction Down?
- How Can I Speed Up An Eviction?
- How To Save The Most Time By Avoiding Eviction?
- How Long Does It Take to Evict Someone?
- Act Quickly For Faster Evictions
- Eviction FAQs
As a landlord, you’re probably already aware that the way you have to follow procedures differs from the techniques of other landlords based on where you live. Every state, city, and even town have their own ordinances and laws when it comes to eviction.
These differences are very important, and you will need to do some additional research on your own to be sure you follow the proper timelines for each part of the procedure.
It can be frustrating to have to become familiar with each set of laws, but in the long run, this knowledge will make your time as a landlord easier when you are facing eviction measures.
Generally speaking, the eviction process can take anywhere from as little as two weeks in the fastest states to as long as three (or even more) months in states where the process has to go through many more steps.
So, how long does it take to evict a tenant, and how do you plan for something that doesn’t have a set period?
First, you need to understand why eviction can take such a short or long time depending on the situation. Every step takes a specific amount of time, and that amount of time can differ depending on three main factors:
- The type of property
- The reason for eviction
- Whether or not there have been previous infractions
Let’s break down the main steps of most eviction processes so you can get an idea of how long each step might take. Depending on why you are evicting a tenant, it could take more or less time.
1. Written Notice
The very first thing that has to be done is that the landlord must give written notice to the tenant. This notice to vacate serves as the beginning of the eviction process, and in this notice, the tenant should be able to learn why they are at risk of eviction.
A proper notice must give the tenant a specific amount of time that they have to fix the problem before an eviction notice is formally filed. This amount of time could be state-mandated.
In some cases, the tenant will not have a chance to fix anything. In these cases, the notice simply serves as a placeholder time period before the formal eviction begins.
Some of the most common types of written notices include the three-day pay or quit notice or a 30/60-day vacate notice.
2. Court Complaint
If the tenant does not fix the issue or otherwise comply with the terms of the written notice, it will be time for you to file a formal complaint with the court. This complaint lets the court know you want the tenant to leave the property, your reasons for wanting this, and what you have done so far.
This file will take less than an hour to file and is one of the fastest parts of the process.
3. Tenant Notice
In most court systems and cases, the tenant will have a period of days to respond. Often, they have five days to respond to the court’s notice of eviction. In this response, they can present their evidence for why they do not believe they should be evicted.
If the tenant presents evidence, the eviction may not continue. If they do not, most courts will default to the landlord and give you the eviction judgment.
4. Court Hearing
The court hearing will be scheduled by the court once they see a need for it. Usually, the court date will be set within 20 days.
If, however, you live in a very busy jurisdiction, the hearing could take longer.
5. Judgment & Eviction
Once the judge decides whether or not you have won the eviction case, you will receive a judgment. If you’ve won your case, you can then take this judgment to the local sheriff to have the tenant escorted off your property ASAP.
In some cases, the judgment will include a specific amount of time the tenant needs to leave within, but in most cases, they go into effect immediately.
And if the tenant wins the eviction hearing, they have the right to remain on your property.
There you have it! All of the steps of eviction and some general times that are typically associated with each step.
How Long Does It Take For A Tenant To Get Evicted?
In the best case scenario, eviction can happen in as little as two weeks or faster if the tenant decides to leave immediately.
In the worst case scenario where the judge requests more evidence, it could take a few months to regain control of your property. Once the lawsuit is filed, the amount of time is in the hands of the court.
As you could see from the timeline above, there are a lot of different steps in the eviction process, and various things can slow down this process.
In particular, there are a few parts of eviction where things often slow down.
- Multiple Offenses
In some states, common offenses such as not taking out the garbage or paying rent late are not enough of a reason for immediate eviction. Instead, the law often gives tenants multiple chances to fix things.
While it can be frustrating, ultimately reaching the eviction you want can take nearly the full lease period because of this allowance for multiple offenses.
If the tenant claims they are not paying rent because you are not keeping up your end of the lease agreement, it will take longer for the court to investigate the situation and make a decision.
Even if this happens to you, keep your head up. You know you are doing the right thing as a landlord, and the court will ultimately see that as well.
- Won’t Leave
Sometimes, you’ll be given an eviction judgment in your favor, and the tenant still won’t leave. In cases like this, the local sheriff will need to use force to regain control, but this can take extra time depending on how long it takes to get help enforcing your judgment.
You may be interested in finding ways to speed up eviction. Unfortunately, you need to follow the letter of the law carefully or you might put yourself at risk for legal action being taken against you.
If you do not follow the proper number of days for each notice, the tenant can say the proper procedure wasn’t followed during an eviction. In that case, you would have to start from the beginning again, and an eviction would take even longer.
No matter how impatient you are to have a tenant leave your property as soon as possible, it is important that you follow the rules.
The number one way to make eviction go faster is never to have to be in an eviction situation.
How do you avoid eviction?
Choosing great tenants is a solid way to lower your risk of an eviction situation. Good tenants will more frequently pay rent on time, take care of your property, and even communicate with you better. You can utilize great tools like a tenant screening service to ensure you are narrowing down your options in the best way possible.
When you choose the right tenants, your time as a landlord will always be spent more profitably!
Your time as a landlord is precious, but unfortunately, sometimes that time will have to be devoted to finding your way through the eviction process. How long does it take to evict someone? Sometimes, it takes too long and can really grind on your patience.
Remember the following when considering how long the eviction process takes:
- You must give the proper number of notice days.
- Cutting corners will cost you more in the long run.
- The eviction process could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months.
- Choosing better tenants in the future will help you avoid the eviction process.
Eviction doesn’t have to take months, but it can. Be smart about your tenant choices, and the eviction problem could become a thing of the past!
Another thing to consider when thinking about how long it might take for a tenant to get evicted is how quickly you can move into action.
If you wait for your tenant to be two weeks late on rent before you send them their first official notice, you are slowing down the overall process. While it’s technically OK to do this from time-to-time when you want to give a specific tenant leeway, you are just causing yourself to spend more time in the eviction process.
Move quickly when a tenant is late with rent. Send a written notice as soon as the rent is late and past any applicable grace periods. File the eviction paperwork as soon as you are permitted to do so. The faster you move, the sooner the issues will be either solved or moved on to resolution through eviction.
How Long Does It Take To Evict Someone From A Home?
How long does the eviction process take from the day the tenants are late to the day they move out of the rental property? Usually, the process takes between two weeks and three months (or longer!), but there is not a specific amount of time that the process will take.
To learn more about why the time varies so radically depending on the situation, visit the earlier parts of this article where we answer more questions about how long it takes to get evicted in greater detail.
Can You Evict Someone In 10 Days?
Even in states that have very short notice to pay or quit requirements, it is probably impossible that you will be able to settle a court eviction within 10 days. The time it takes to file paperwork, get a court date, and then enforce the court ruling is likely to take more than 10 days.
That being said, it is possible that a tenant who has been consistently paying late rent and knows that they will lose an eviction case will move out in 10 days or less when faced with the prospect of eviction. If you sent out a notice to pay or quit, the tenant may decide it is time to cut their losses and move out immediately.
While this situation doesn’t resolve the money you are owed, it is possible the tenant will be out and willing to void out the remaining lease period in less than 10 days.
Can An Eviction Be Canceled?
If you sent out a notice to pay or quit, which is the first written notice used in the eviction process, the eviction itself hasn’t started yet and can be canceled. Receiving rent from the tenant will stop things, and the eviction process can be considered to be canceled.
Once the eviction has been filed with the court system, the case can still be pulled as long as the hearing has not happened yet. This can be done when either party submits documentation for dismissal to the court, and the exact requirements will vary based on where the rental property is located.
If the eviction has already been decided in court, the decision cannot be easily undone. That being said, the landlord could make the choice to overturn the case and ask the court to change the decision based on changes in the situation. Whether or not the court would agree, however, would depend on the situation.
How Do You Get Rid Of Someone Living In Your House?
If the houseguest has been living in the house for more than 30 days, they can be treated as a tenant in most states due to the period of time that has passed. This means you can take on some rights as a landlord even though there is not a written lease agreement in place.
To proceed, the best next step is to send them a certified letter that states when they need to leave by. Asking them to leave will be treated like a month-to-month lease termination, so they will need to be given a certain amount of notice. The specific amount of notice required will depend on your state’s laws, and they will have that amount of time to file a response.
Should they refuse to vacate the property, you can then move to file for eviction once the notice period has passed.
Can You Kick Someone Out Of Your House Who Doesn’t Pay Rent?
Yes; you can kick someone out of your house who doesn’t pay rent. Even if someone isn’t paying rent, they are staying at a property that is not owned by them. Their residency would be treated by the law as part of a spoken lease agreement in most states, and this means they could be evicted.
The procedure for eviction would follow the same route as a month-to-month tenancy eviction. Check your local and state laws to find out the exact procedure.
How Long Can Someone Live In Your House Without Paying Rent?
When this is a situation of a tenant-gone-rogue, the tenant will be able to continue living there without paying rent until you successfully proceed with eviction proceedings. Once you are awarded a writ of possession by the eviction court, you will be able to work with the county sheriff in your area to have them legally removed.
If this is a situation of someone living in your house past when they were originally intended to be there, the same situation may unfortunately apply. Houseguests that won’t leave ultimately have to be evicted in the same way as tenants in most states, so you will want to handle this situation in that manner as quickly as possible.
The key point regardless of how you got to this point is that someone can live in your house without paying rent for as long as you allow them without contention. The only way to end the cycle is to take action, so take action soon.
How Long Is The Eviction Process: Landlords Should Be Prepared
As you can see, there are many different routes that can lead to eviction, and the amount of time it takes to get someone evicted from your rental property can vary quite dramatically. You always need to be prepared for the possibility of going one or three months without rent as you work through the eviction process.
While you will ultimately be able to make a claim for the rent you are owed, landlords should always have some backup funds available for these types of situations. Collecting owed rent after an eviction can be difficult; you should be prepared for the worst in all situations.