What constitutes a legal eviction?

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What constitutes a legal eviction?

I was renting a room from a friend in his mobile home in a mobile home park. I signed a lease and paid for 7 months rent up front. I violated the lease by having a drug test come up positive for THC, although I never had it at the property. My roommate told me that I had to be out of his home by the end of the month. He did not go through the court system and is keeping 5 months of my rent. The lease said if I violate for this reason I lose rent already paid. Can he do that?

Asked on May 24, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) A legal eviction MUST be through the court system--a landlord may *not* lock a tenant out by him or her self.

2) A tenant can only be evicted for a violation of the lease. If the lease provides that any drug use, etc., even offsite, is grounds for eviction, that is enforceable--though again, only the courts.

3) If you are illegally evicted, you can sue; you may be able to get back in the premises and/or get monetary compensation.

4) A lease can provide that in the event in a breach, the landlord may keep prepaid rent or a certain amount of rent. In theory, if a tenant is evicted for lease violations, he or she may be liable for the rent which would be due for the entire remaining balance of the lease term.


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