What Can My Landlord Evict Me For?

Monday, May 29, 2017

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Hopefully, you’ll never have to experience eviction proceedings; but should a tenancy turn sour and you’re threatened with the possibility of eviction, it’s important to know what is and isn’t grounds for an eviction. There are two types of evictions: lawful eviction and unlawful evictions.


A lawful eviction is whereby a tenant violates terms of the lease agreement – this legally constitutes grounds for lawful eviction. Common examples of lawful evictions would include:

  • Failure to pay rent
  • Frequent late rental payments
  • Illegal activities conducted in the rental unit
  • Causing excessive damage to the rental unit
  • Interfering with other tenants’ rights to peaceful enjoyment
  • Violating occupancy/tenancy limits (having too many people live in the residence)

There are other types of lawful evictions that are a bit less straightforward:


  • If a tenant lies on their rental application about their income, criminal history, etc.
  • The owner of the rental unit wishes to move their immediate family into the unit; in which case, they must provide adequate notice to move.
  • The owner plans on conducting major and extensive renovations, which would not be able to take place with someone occupying the rental unit.
  • The owner plans on converting the rental unit into a different unit type, not for housing.


On the other hand, there are unlawful evictions, which may include:


  • Any discriminatory reason that violates fair housing laws.
  • Evictions based on a no-pets clause, where the animal is a service/support animal.
  • Attempting to remove a tenant mid-lease to rent to another tenant, offering a higher monthly rental rate.


In the event of a lawful eviction, landlords are required to provide tenants with a specific period of notice, before the eviction (the amount of time will vary in different jurisdictions). This notice will be provided in writing, with information detailing the tenant(s) that are being evicted and on what grounds, with a specific date the eviction will take effect. The tenant is typically awarded the opportunity to fix the problem and avoid an eviction, within a reasonable time frame.

In the event of an unlawful eviction, tenants have two options:

  1. Proceed with eviction litigation:

    This litigation often involves legal proceedings in a landlord-tenant court. If the tenant has reasonable grounds to dispute the eviction and ample evidence to prove it’s an illegal eviction, then the court will likely side in the renter’s favor. Evidence of the history of rent payments or even testimony from other tenants will help. The outcome of the court proceedings will largely depend on the specific situation at hand.
  2. Accept the eviction, despite it being unlawful:

    A tenant might accept a wrongful eviction, rather than live in a situation where the landlord wants the person evicted, which would likely be awkward or uncomfortable. In these cases, it might be viewed as an easier solution to just find a new place to live, instead of going through the courts. As long as the eviction isn’t related to nonpayment of rent, there usually won’t be impact on the tenant’s ability to secure other housing in the future. According to Avvo, “In general, an eviction will not appear on a personal record or preclude you from securing housing in the future.”


Of course, there will be certain scenarios that aren’t clear-cut as to whether or not it’s a lawful or unlawful eviction. In instances where students have uncertainty, we previously discussed, what to do if you have legal issues with your student housing landlord. One of our suggestions was to discover if your school offers student legal services. Most schools do, which can be a valuable resource for students experiencing eviction proceedings.

While evictions aren’t particularly common in student housing, we still encourage students to familiarize themselves with their rights and responsibilities as a tenant in their municipalities.

SEE ALSO: Can a Landlord Make Rule Changes Mid-Lease?


The Places4Students.com Team