Just cause eviction statutes are laws that protect tenants from eviction for an improper reason.  Cities or states that have just cause eviction statutes allow landlords or owners to evict a tenant only for certain reasons, such as failure to pay rent or for violation of the lease terms.

Do All States or Cities Require Just Cause Evictions?

Only a few states, such as New Jersey and New Hampshire, have just cause eviction statutes.  Many cities also have just cause eviction statutes such as San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and New York City.  Most rent controlled cities also require just cause evictions

Whom Does Just Cause Eviction Statutes Apply To?

Just cause evictions statutes generally only apply to an owner of a building that has a certain number of units.  Generally, there must be 6 or more units in the building for the owner to be subject to the just cause eviction statute, but the number of units varies by city.

What Type of Activity Can Lead to a Just Cause Eviction?

Local statute’s vary on what type of activity can result in a just cause eviction.  Some of the most common types of action that can lead to a just cause eviction are: 

  • Failure to pay rent
  • Routinely paying rent late or bouncing the rent checks
  • Using rented unit for illegal purposes
  • Failure to abide by the lease after written notice of the violation of the lease provision
  • Creating a nuisance
  • Substantially damaging the property
  • Denying the owner reasonable access to the unit for repairs as required by state and local law
  • Owner move in evictions
  • Owner seeks to demolish or permanently remove the unit from the rental market and has abided by all state and local laws

Who Enforces the Just Cause Eviction Statutes?

Generally, the rent control board of the city or a similar association is set up to ensure that the proper procedures are being followed for evictions.

What Happens if a Tenant is Evicted Without a Just Cause?

If a tenant is evicted for reasons other than those permitted by the just cause eviction statute, the owner must offer the unit back to the evicted tenant first before attempting to rent to another tenant.  The tenant also has a cause of action for wrongful eviction.

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Have Been Evicted in a Just Cause Eviction Locality?

Just cause eviction laws are complex and vary by city.  An experienced landlord-tenant lawyer can advise you of the just cause evictions laws in your locality.  A landlord-tenant attorney can also file any necessary paperwork and represent you in court.