Can you be evicted without a lease?

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Can you be evicted without a lease?

Our landlord had us served with eviction papers and to appear in court. Problem is we never signed a lease. How can he take us to court without one?

Asked on August 16, 2011 Virginia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A lease need not be written. In the case where there is no written lease, a tenant is considered to be on a month-to-month tenancy. Think about it, if you needed a lease to be written than without one you could never evict a tenant under an oral agreement.

Under the law of most states, the general rule is that in order to evict a tenant, they must be served with proper notice. In the case of a month-to-month rental, a 30 days is typically required (that is 30 days before the date that the next rental payment is due). If a tenant does not leave by the date specified than an "unlawful detainer" action will be filed (i.e. eviction lawsuit). If the tenant does not vacate by the date ordered by the court, a lanlord may have the sheriff remove them (by physical force if necessary).


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