forcible entry and detainer | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Procedural Law

Forcible entry and detainer, also known as eviction, refers to the legal process by which a landlord can evict a tenant from a rental property for a breach of the lease agreement or for failing to pay rent.

Forcible entry refers to the initial entry of a tenant into a rental property without the permission of the landlord, or the retention of possession of the rental property after the lease or rental agreement has expired or been terminated.

Detainer refers to the process by which a landlord seeks to regain possession of the rental property from the tenant who has wrongfully retained possession. This process typically starts with the landlord serving the tenant with a notice to vacate, which gives the tenant a certain number of days to vacate the property or to cure the lease violation (e.g. pay outstanding rent). If the tenant fails to vacate the property or cure the violation, the landlord may then file a complaint in court for forcible entry and detainer.

The court will then schedule a hearing, where both the landlord and tenant have an opportunity to present evidence and argue their case. If the court finds in favor of the landlord, it will issue an order directing the tenant to vacate the property, and if the tenant still fails to vacate the property, the court can authorize the sheriff to physically remove the tenant from the rental property and restore possession to the landlord.

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Last Modified: 01/11/2023


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