My landlord evicted me from my apartment after 6 months of my stay
for no apparent reason. I paid all the
bills, didn't cause any damages, etc. Is
it legal for landlords to evict a tenant without any reason?
Although you say that your landlord “evicted you” for no
apparent reason, chances are you’re talking about receiving a termination
notice, telling you to move within a certain number of days or face an eviction
lawsuit. When tenants don’t move and landlords proceed to court and win, the
tenant typically has a few days to move voluntarily. If he doesn’t, a local law
enforcement person will show up and remove the tenant and his belongings. Only
the court can order an eviction, and only a designated officer can carry it
Whether your landlord’s attempts to terminate your tenancy
are legal will depend on whether you are a month-to-month tenant, or have a lease;
and for some tenants, where you live.
Month-to-month tenants have a rental
agreement that self-renews every month unless one side decides to terminate it.
In most states and cities, landlords can evict month-to-month tenants for no
reason, as long as their motivation is not to discriminate illegally or to
retaliate against a tenant who exercised a protected tenant right.
If your landlord’s motivation was
not based on illegal discrimination or retaliation, in most situations his
termination of a month-to-month rental agreement will be legal. The notice
period is 30 days in most states, though some give tenants more or less time. See
below, however, for exceptions
In cities that have rent control (in California, New York, and
Maryland), and in Washington, DC and the states of New Hampshire and New
Jersey, landlords may not terminate month-to-month tenants unless they have a
reason, or “just cause,” that’s enumerated in the rent control ordinance or
state law. Check your ordinance or law for the list of reasons that will
justify a termination.
Tenants who have a fixed-term lease cannot be terminated with a “no
reason” termination notice. After all, that’s the whole point of a lease—you get
to stay as long as you don’t violate the lease terms, fail to pay the rent,
bring-in an unauthorized occupant, conduct illegal activities on the premises,
and so on.
Landlords who want to terminate a lease mid-term must do so for
one of these reasons, and must state the reason in the termination notice. If
the tenant decides to stay and fight the eviction, the landlord must prove the
reason in court.