Steps for Initiating the Eviction Process

Evictions are necessary when tenants violate lease agreements or fail to pay rent. Whereas initiating the process is something most landlords want to avoid and will execute as a last resort, having a basic idea of what happens makes it less challenging. 

What The Process Looks Like

The first step in the eviction process is serving an eviction notice. When the tenant receives this, they will be informed about which violation they committed and what must be done to resolve the situation. Missouri has different types of eviction notices, and which one you use depends on the situation. For instance, if you are dealing with a tenant who has not paid rent, you would issue a Rent Demand Notice immediately. For other lease violations, a Lease Violation Notice gives the tenant ten days to fix the issue. When a tenant of yours has committed a crime or has done something illegal on your property, you can issue an Unconditional Notice to Quit. This gives the tenant ten days to leave without the option to correct the violation.

There will be times when the notice period has expired, and the matter remains unresolved. At this point, you would contact legal counsel (if you haven’t done so already) so they can file an eviction lawsuit. This involves submitting a complaint to the local court, including details about the lease, the violation, and the desired outcome. 

The tenant will then be issued a summons to appear before the court, and this includes when the court date is. This summons must be served to the tenant at least four days before the hearing. At the court hearing, the landlord and tenant present their cases. The judge then makes a ruling on the matter. A writ of restitution gets issued if and when the judge rules in favor of the landlord. This document allows the sheriff to remove the tenant from the property if they do not leave voluntarily and within the specified time frame. In expedited cases, the tenant may have only 24 hours to vacate.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

One common mistake landlords make is not providing proper notice. The eviction notice must be served correctly, either personally, left with a suitable resident, or posted on the property if no one is home. Failure to follow these steps can invalidate the eviction process and delay proceedings.

Another mistake is filing incomplete or incorrect paperwork. The eviction lawsuit must include all required information and be filed in the correct court. Missing or inaccurate details can result in the case being dismissed. Landlords should ensure they have all necessary documents before filing, such as the lease agreement and proof of the violation.

Landlords also often fail to adhere to the required timelines. The eviction process has strict deadlines for serving notices, filing lawsuits, and attending court hearings. Missing these deadlines delays the eviction or results in the case being dismissed. Keep track of all dates and ensure all actions are completed within the required time frames.

Another common mistake is not preparing for the court hearing. Landlords should bring all relevant documents and evidence to support their case, including the lease agreement, the eviction notice, proof of service, and any evidence of the lease violation. 

Lastly, some landlords attempt to force tenants out without following legal procedures. This can include changing locks, shutting off utilities, or removing the tenant’s belongings. Such actions are illegal and can result in penalties for the landlord. 

Protect Yourself & Your Property By Having Legal Counsel 

Understanding the steps and avoiding common mistakes in the eviction process can save landlords time and stress. If you need assistance with an eviction, schedule a consultation with Beckemeier LeMoine Law.

Call 314-965-2277 now or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our highly skilled attorneys today.