Much of the danger to tenants is being unable to pay rent, as both rental prices and cost of living continue to increase while the job market is still in recovery. However, that isn’t the only way tenants can get evicted. There are even a few ways landlords can legally evict tenants that haven’t done anything wrong. That isn’t enough for some landlords though, who are actually resorting to illegal methods of eviction instead of notifying the tenant and potentially going through the court process.
Though both are legal, the court process distinguishes at-fault and no-fault evictions. At-fault evictions are the category where failure to pay rent lies, and this category also includes various contract violations and criminal activity while on the premises. The no-fault category includes landlord’s intent to occupy the property, withdrawal from the rental market, property being deemed unfit for habitation, or landlord’s intent to demolish or substantially renovate the property. Some of these can be used misleadingly as the landlord can simply change their mind later, but the real problem is unlawful evictions. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is particularly concerned with the type known as self-help evictions. This includes the landlord shutting off utilities, changing locks, or removing the tenant’s personal belongings in order to force them out of the property. Landlords initiating a self-help eviction can get charged with a misdemeanor, and the sentence is either a fine or a jail term of a maximum of one year.