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the landlord may hold you responsible for her share of future and past rent owing. Also, if you and your cotenant have a disagreement, your landlord probably cannot lockout, evict, or remove that person from the lease on that basis alone. As a cotenant, you can request the landlord change the locks at your expense; however, the landlord will have to give the new key to any other tenant on the lease.


An eviction is a lawsuit filed by a landlord to remove someone and their possessions from the landlord’s property. A landlord may file an eviction lawsuit against you if you fail to pay rent or fail to abide by some other provision of the lease agreement. See "Termination for Tenant Breach." The landlord may only terminate your right of possession and probably will not terminate the other obligations of the lease if you violate a provision of the lease for nonpayment or other breach. See "Consequences for Terminating Without Excuse." [A tenant in Section 8, government-owned or government-subsidized housing must commit a serious violation of the lease for the landlord to be able to terminate the lease.] Check the lease for what constitutes a violation of the lease. You may also be evicted if you stay longer than the lease allows without the permission of the landlord. However, there are exceptions. See "Exceptions to Failing to Renew or Terminating a Month-to-Month."

Procedure and Suggestions Even if your landlord has grounds with which to evict you, the landlord and court must perform all of the following steps before you can be legally evicted. A landlord may not remove you from her property without a final order from a Justice of the Peace court.

  • (1)

    The landlord must first give you a written notice to vacate at least three days before a lawsuit is filed to evict you. (The lease agreement may legally shorten or lengthen the time period for the notice to vacate.) At this stage, there has been no filing in court. Because eviction court records are public documents and are used by many landlords to screen potential tenants, it may be best to attempt to negotiate a reasonable solution to your dispute before the landlord files a lawsuit. [A tenant in Section 8, government-owned or government-subsidized housing is usually entitled to longer notice periods, as well as an administrative hearing (called a "grievance hearing" or a meeting with the landlord) before any of these eviction procedures can begin, unless the allegations include drug or violent criminal behavior.]

  • (2)

    If you fail to move out before the deadline in the notice to vacate, the landlord may file a written complaint with the appropriate Justice of the Peace Court (called a forcible entry and detainer or "FED" lawsuit). The complaint must state the specific reason the landlord has for terminating your right to possession, contain a complete description of the property from which you are to be evicted, and the landlord must


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