Rental laws are state specific, and individual states adopt different landlord and tenant rights into law. Regardless of idiosyncrasies in the law, when a tenant doesn't pay rent, the landlord can serve the tenant with a nonpayment of rent notice; this notice acts as the first step toward formal eviction proceedings. The process for proceeding with eviction is also state specific. The process for serving a tenant with a nonpayment of rent form is the same nationwide.
Visit the county clerk's office in the county where your rental property is. You will need to file a notice with the courts that your tenant has failed to pay rent, then pay the court fee to have a constable serve the tenant with a nonpayment of rent notice. The county recorder will tell you about the forms required to serve the notice. Once the constable has served the tenant, you will get a signed receipt.
Keep the receipt in a safe place, or put it in the resident's file, along with your copy of the lease. If the tenant pays the rent after receiving the notice, eviction proceedings can terminate. If they fail to pay and fail to respond to the notice, you will need to file another notice with the court system; this time for formal eviction. Wait the prescribed amount of days for eviction according to state laws, and then take the next step.
File the final nonpayment of rent paperwork with the county clerk's office. This acts as the final eviction notice for the tenant. A constable will deliver this notice to the tenant and obtain a signed receipt. Once this is served, you will accompany a county sheriff to evict the tenant and remove any personal belongings from the residence.
Tips & Warnings
- You have the option of sending tenants a request for payment letter before eviction as a final attempt to collect past due rent.
- Do not attempt to serve nonpayment of rent notices on your own. They are not valid unless served by a constable, or by certified mail.
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