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Evictions

Even with the best efforts screening tenants and addressing issues, almost all landlords will be faced with the need to evict a tenant from time-to-time. Following the proper process for your evictions helps to ensure that your tenants are removed as fast as possible and that you do not face any liability for wrongfully evicting a tenant.

What Notices are Required Prior to an Eviction?

The type of notices required will vary depending on the state where the property is located and the reason for the eviction.

Kansas Notices

In Kansas, if you are evicting a tenant for non-payment of rent, the tenant must be provided a three-day notice prior to the filing of an eviction action. The three days must be a full 72 hour period, unless the notice is mailed in which case the notice must be posted for 120 hours prior to filing the eviction. The notice can be posted on the door, hand delivered, or mailed to the tenant.

If the eviction is for a violation of the lease (other than non-payment of rent), the notice must be a 14/30 day notice. This is a notice that states if the issue is not cured within 14 days, the lease will be terminated 30 days from the date of the notice. The eviction can then be filed on the 31st day from the date it is was delivered (or the 33rd day if sent via mail). If the tenant corrects the lease violation the tenant is allowed to say in the property, unless it the second time the tenant has been notified of the same lease violation.

If the tenant is on a month-to-month lease, the notice must be delivered 30 days prior to any action to remove the tenant from the property.

Missouri Notices

In Missouri it is not required that you serve a three-day or other notice on a tenant for non-payment of rent. The law does require a demand for payment, but it considers the filing of the eviction (or rent and possession action) to be the demand. The major difference between Kansas and Missouri though (and likely the reason why pre-suit notice is not required) is that in Missouri a tenant may pay the amount of rent that is owed up to the time judgment is entered and will be allowed to stay in the home.

If you are terminating a lease for a breach other than non-payment, in Missouri, the required notice is ten days and if the lease violation is not corrected, you may proceed with the eviction.

Where Can I Get Pre-Eviction Notices?

There are no specific forms that are required to be used for a pre-eviction notice; however, it is important that you include the right information in your eviction notices. If you would like us to provide you with a form you can use, we can do so for the price of $20 per form. Alternatively, if you would like access to a bank of pre-eviction notice forms, leases, and common addenda, along with unlimited quick phone calls with an attorney to answer your legal questions, please check out our Guarded Pockets™ program.

How Long Does an Eviction Take?

There is no uniform answer to that question, but in most cases an eviction in Kansas takes about 4-6 weeks from start to removal of the tenant and in Missouri it is generally about 6-8 weeks. The process can move faster if the tenant does not object or may sometimes be slower if there are delays such as the sheriff not properly serving the tenant or the court approves continuance requests.

Can I Evict Someone Under a Contract for Deed or Land Contract?

Maybe. Many investors will enter into contracts for deed with purchasers with the belief that the investor can simply evict the buyer (as opposed to a foreclosure). Unfortunately, it is usually not this simple. In Kansas, the courts have held that a person must go through the foreclosure process — instead of eviction — when the buyer/tenant has an equitable interest in the property. This interest arises when the buyer/tenant has made significant payments toward the ultimate purchase price. Therefore, despite what the contract says, a foreclosure may be required.

More importantly, many judges — including the judge that handles evictions in Johnson County, Kansas — believe that if there is any question if there is an equitable interest, the matter must be decided by the higher court, which takes the case off of the eviction timeline. Therefore, even if it is later determined there is no equitable interest, the eviction will take longer anyway as it has to go through a different court.

As such, this does not mean we can not remove a buyer/tenant under a contract for deed, but it does mean it will likely move slower and be more expensive. This is why we generally advise against contracts for deed, except in certain limited circumstances.

What Does the Eviction Process Look Like?

The steps for an eviction are the same in Kansas and Missouri although they tend to move through the steps a little faster in Kansas. An overview of the basic process is below.

As we walk through this process, you will have access to an iPhone, Android, and web app that tells you exactly where we are in the process and what the next steps look like. You can learn more about this app by going to the Case Status page on our website.

Introductory Phone Call

This step may not be necessary for repeat clients, but if you are just getting started working with the firm or if you have questions, the first step is to schedule a time for a quick ten minute introductory phone call to discuss working with the firm and our processes.

Pre-Filing

The next step in the process is for you to submit to us the information necessary to for us to prepare the eviction process. We ask that you do this using our online webform, and you will be asked to uploaded copies of the necessary documents (Lease, Renewals, Amendments, and Eviction Notices) at the time you complete the form. 

Once the form is completed, we will prepare and file the petition for eviction. This may be done the same day, or within a couple of days as we know the court’s calendar and many times you will get the same date if filed a day or two later. In other words, we make sure to get the case filed so you get the soonest date possible once you have provided us the necessary information. 

Answer Hearing

When the case is processed by the court, we will be provided with a date for the answer hearing.  The answer hearing is a date where the tenant is asked to come to court to “admit” or “deny” the allegations in the petition.

The court does not take any evidence at this hearing and you do not need to come to court as we will handle this on your behalf.

If the tenant admits the allegations, you win and judgment is entered.  If the tenant denies the allegations, the court will set this matter for a trial.

Trial

It is not uncommon for the tenant not to show up for the trial.  This is because the tenant requested the trial to get more time to move out, but knows he or she does not have a defense to the eviction.

Please note that many times in Kansas the Court will separate the trial into two different dates. The first trial will just be on the issue of if the tenant should be removed from the property and that second trial will be on any money owed to you. The first trial will take place within 1 week of the Answer Hearing. The second trial could be several months later depending on the court’s calendar.  

Judgment Entered

At this point the court has entered judgment against the tenant. This might be a judgment just for possession (most likely if there was a trial) or it could be a judgment for both possession and money owed.  At this point, we will request that the court enter a “Writ of Restitution,” which is an order directing the sheriff to remove the tenant from the property. This usually takes a couple of business days from the date the judgment is entered, and then it is delivered to the sheriff a few days later. Once the sheriff has received the writ, the sheriff will contact you to schedule the lockout, which is generally about 2 weeks from the date judgment was entered. You will need to be present at the time the tenant is removed and how it is usually done is that the sheriff will go to the property a day or two before the lockout to post a notice saying when the tenant must be gone. If the tenant is not gone, the sheriff will force them to leave and you can change the locks on the door. If the tenant has not left, it is strongly recommended that you walk through the property and take a video of the contents at the time of the lockout. This will help prevent (but cannot completely avoid), a claim from the tenant you removed something of the tenant’s from the property following the lockout. It also helps document the condition of the property for later. If property is left in the building, the landlord must store the property for 30 days. This can be done in the property or somewhere else. If the tenant wants the property back, he or she will have to pay the landlord the entire amount of the judgment, plus the storage costs for the property.  

Tenant Removed

At this point the court has entered judgment against the tenant. This might be a judgment just for possession (most likely if there was a trial) or it could be a judgment for both possession and money owed.  At this point, we will request that the court enter a “Writ of Restitution,” which is an order directing the sheriff to remove the tenant from the property. This usually takes a couple of business days from the date the judgment is entered, and then it is delivered to the sheriff a few days later. Once the sheriff has received the writ, the sheriff will contact you to schedule the lockout, which is generally about 2 weeks from the date judgment was entered. You will need to be present at the time the tenant is removed and how it is usually done is that the sheriff will go to the property a day or two before the lockout to post a notice saying when the tenant must be gone. If the tenant is not gone, the sheriff will force them to leave and you can change the locks on the door. If the tenant has not left, it is strongly recommended that you walk through the property and take a video of the contents at the time of the lockout. This will help prevent (but cannot completely avoid), a claim from the tenant you removed something of the tenant’s from the property following the lockout. It also helps document the condition of the property for later. If property is left in the building, the landlord must store the property for 30 days. This can be done in the property or somewhere else. If the tenant wants the property back, he or she will have to pay the landlord the entire amount of the judgment, plus the storage costs for the property.  

How Much Does an Eviction Cost?

The costs of a residential eviction are generally between $500 and $1000 depending on how the eviction proceeds and if it is resolved without the need for a trial. You can see more detailed pricing information or sign up for services by clicking on this link.

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