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How Long Does The Process Of Eviction Take?

Eviction is the legal process through which a landlord removes a tenant from their property. Each state in the U.S has specific eviction laws and procedures; however, some general eviction rules apply to landlords and tenants residing in any state. 

A tenant can be evicted if their lease is violated or expired, the rental term expires, or the tenant does not pay rent on time. Here is how long the process takes after the tenant violates the rental agreement.  

Steps Required to Evict a Renter Legally

  • Determining legal grounds for eviction: If the terms of the lease are violated, for example, if the tenant violated the “no pets allowed” rule, that is a valid reason for eviction if this rule was part of the lease agreement. 

A landlord can also evict the tenant if they refuse to leave after the rental agreement has expired. Other reasons for evictions include excessive damage to the property or being a nuisance to the neighbors.  

Self-help eviction, which is the process of forcing a tenant out of your property, is not allowed in almost all states in the U.S. This means that a landlord is not allowed to lock the tenant outside the house, deprive them of basic utilities, or throw their belongings out of the property to get them to leave.  

  • Send a notice to vacate your tenant: Once the legal grounds for eviction have been established, the next step is to send your tenant a written notice to vacate the property. 

The notice to vacate should include a clear deadline for the tenant to vacate the premises. If the tenant does not act accordingly and the notice expires, the landlord can move further with the eviction process. However, this process may vary depending on the state where you reside. 

Many states do not require the landlord to send their tenant a written notice. If the lease agreement has been violated, the landlord can immediately file an eviction. 

  • Filing an eviction with the court: The process to file an eviction action can vary depending on which state the landlord and tenant belong to. In most states, after the landlord submits the paperwork for eviction, a hearing is scheduled by the court. 

Filing an eviction action, the time it takes for the tenant to respond, and scheduling an eviction can take anywhere between a few days to several weeks, depending on the state laws and the specifics of the case.

  • Court decision on the eviction case: The court can require more than one hearing before deciding on the eviction case. It is typical for an eviction case to require two hearings.

The first hearing can allow the plaintiff and the defendant to settle on an agreement. A tenant that is facing eviction due to non-payment of rent can be allowed to redeem the tenancy by paying off the balance. The judicial officer decides whether the tenant can stay or move out in the second hearing. 

  • Order for eviction and removal of tenant: Most states allow the landlord to carry out the eviction process upon filing an eviction action. In other states, if the court rules in favor of the landlord, the court order for eviction is given to a law enforcement agency, which will act accordingly to remove the tenant in the specific timeframe. 

What can slow down an eviction process?

Stay of Execution 

The court may postpone the eviction to give the tenant more time to move out or make amends. This happens with the tenant files a stay of execution. A stay of execution is filed to delay the order of eviction. In most states, it can extend the eviction process by six months. 

Filing an Appeal 

In some states, the tenant may be given a deadline to file an appeal before the eviction process is carried out. Filing an appeal can delay the eviction process. 


While some U.S states hold only one trial for eviction cases, some courts may hold two trials depending on the lack of evidence in the case. 

Motion to Quash 

A tenant can file a motion to quash in which they can argue for the incorrect serving of summons or complaints. However, the motion to quash is often denied by courts and the tenant is required to submit a response to eviction action within 5 days. 

Answer to Complaint or a Demurrer

The tenant’s answer to the complaint can add more time to the case. Most tenants file a demurrer before the trial, which challenges the legal standing of the landlord’s eviction action.

When Should a Landlord Hire a Lawyer?

While eviction lawsuits may not take a lot of time in most states, if the tenant decides to fight the eviction by filing an appeal or stay of execution, the entire process can drag on for many months. An experienced attorney can help you avoid the potential risk of being sued by the tenant for illegal discrimination, injury, or failure to maintain the rental property. 

A tenant can exercise many legal actions to delay the eviction. Having the assistance of a professional can allow you to speed up the eviction process. Your attorney can give you expert advice on how to successfully file for eviction and not find yourself stuck with extensions and delays.