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What Is A No Fault Eviction?

The term “No Fault Eviction” has become a rather hot term in the headlines lately. Teachers in San Francisco want protection from them. Across the Country in Boston tenant groups are asking the city to stop landlords from using them.

But what is a “No Fault Eviction?”

How do they work?

And why are people suddenly getting so upset about them?

A so called “No Fault Eviction” is an eviction where the tenant is evicted through no fault of their own. They paid their rent on time. They followed the rules. However, the landlord has decided at the end of the tenant’s lease term that he no longer wishes to rent to that tenant. He has chosen not to renew the lease or let it run on perhaps on a month to month term.

If the landlord chooses not to renew the lease, he will ask the tenant to vacate the property. Usually this is done by letter at least a month or more before the landlord wants to retake possession of the property. However this time frame could vary depending on state and local laws or the terms of the lease.

Most of the time, the tenant chooses to leave and find a new place to live. But sometimes they do not. They want to stay despite the landlord’s wishes. If that happens, the landlord is them forced to evict the tenant.

Not really a “No Fault” to me. The tenant has violated the landlord’s property rights by not leaving when legally asked to do so. The landlord owns the building, the terms of the lease are up and the landlord should be able to retake possession of the building.

So why are people so upset about this?

It is because of the recent rapid rise in rents.

Rents have been going up all over the country in recent years. Landlords are thus often able to raise the rents at their properties. In some areas, quite significantly, as much as 400%! That simply is too good of a story for some media outlets to pass up.

Incomes have not caught up yet. Thus many renters feel that they will have to leave their longtime neighborhoods. Or worse, might not be able to afford new housing. A concern for sure.

While the recent rent increases have many causes, many choose to blame the landlords and have been petitioning local authorities to enact laws to prohibit or restrict “No Fault Evictions.”

No one likes to go through an eviction. It is just not a pleasant experience for either side. I try to avoid them almost any way I can. Thankfully in my experience, most tenants have agreed to move when I asked them to. Then again, we have not had the significant price increases here in Memphis either.

But what have you experienced in your part of the world? Are your tenants refusing rent increases or refusing to move? Please let me know with your comments.

4 Responses to “What Is A No Fault Eviction?”
  1. Charles J. says:

    Why would a landlord evict a good paying tenant rather than just raise their rent to whatever the present market level is? Obviously there is no fear of losing the tenant if the landlord is already willing to evict. The lease term expires – send a letter of intention – and then present the new lease with it’s new rent payment amount. The tenant can either agree or vacate. Or be evicted for failing to comply.

    Unless rent-control laws are already in place – what would the tenant’s “no fault eviction” defense be based on? It seems to me that only the landlord can create a “no fault eviction” situation – by failing to notify the tenant of the new circumstance. That is: the rent amount is being increased.

    • Kevin says:


      Thanks for reading and for the comment.

      A landlord might ask someone to leave if they want to rehab the unit., or like I did once, move into the unit. If they do not leave, that would be a no fault eviction.

      The eviction for not leaving after the letter of intent and new lease lease terms are presented is also a no fault eviction. Sounds weird I know but that is what they are called. As for defense? There really should be none but judges can do what they want to do and then force you to appeal. Remember some judges are elected and do bow to or bend in political winds.

      Again thanks for reading and commenting,


  2. Hi Kevin,

    Here in California, we have different terms used for the process. The first you mention above is a termination of tenancy. They can be done for many reasons. A property owner may want to sell the house or move back in. When we get to the eviction stage, the tenant has already defaulted or lost. Here is a link to a blog post we have written detailing how it works in California if you are interested.

    Thanks for the time.

    Aaron R

  3. we own and operate a property management company in Redding CA. Here in California, there is not a no-fault eviction. The court action here is referred to as an unlawful detainer action that produces an eviction order and a judgment.

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