Unlawful Detainer

Female presenting keys and small house.

The Act Of Unlawful Detainer

The legal term Unlawful Detainer is known as an act of retention of one’s property without having any legal right over the same. In layman’s language, the legal term unlawful detainer means the conduct of a person who has illegally possessed a property- leased, apartment, and simply refuses to vacate the premises, even after the expiration of the lease or the agreement between the landlord and the tenant. In most cases, the landlord who wishes to evict someone from their property is because they are wanting to safeguard their own interests, which is their legal right.

According to the US common law, a landlord, as per his will can forcefully remove a tenant for any kind of violation or non-payment. Along with the legal regulations of the Common Law, a landlord must also keep the legal provisions of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution in mind. Otherwise, the tenant could challenge the unlawful detention process.

Every state in the US has their own provisions for the concept or Unlawful Detainer and the related proceedings. In some states, the landlord is supposed to have reasons, a legitimate one, or a show-cause notice to take such an action. The legitimate reasons could be related to the non-payment of monthly rent, breach of any provision of the agreement, or refusing to leave the premises even after notices have been given. Various steps and proceedings arise when the situation becomes that of “unlawful detention”.

In various cases, a written complaint must be filed by the landlord in a district court, against the tenant who has caused problems. Summons are supposed to be sent to the tenant by the landlord, at least 7 days before the date of court proceedings, to make sure they appear in the court. At the court hearing, both the tenant as well as the landlord are given a chance to speak for themselves and their part of the story. After hearing out what the two parties have to say, the honorable judge then takes the decision according to what seems suitable for a certain situation. If it is decided by the judge that the tenant does not have any important and necessary reasons to leave the premises or to pay the rent, it will be ordered for the tenant to vacate the premise or anything else that seems suitable for the situation. Even after the decision of the honorable judge the tenant refuses to vacate, a sheriff will do the needful and forcefully remove the person.

If the tenant causes serious troubles and nuisance which endanger the safety of either the property or of the people around, the tenant will be forcefully and legally evicted.

In some cases, the tenant will be required to pay the rent along with the interests and other additional costs. If they are unable to pay the same, a writ may be issued against the tenant for them to pay the necessary costs in a given time frame. Any additional costs like the cost of the attorney


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