Montana Eviction LawPosted by Christopher Berkompas in Montana
Note: I am not a lawyer, and this does not constitute legal advice.
What constitutes grounds for eviction?
The tenant must have either substantially violated the lease or have failed to pay due rent to be evicted expeditiously. In the case of a month-to-month lease, it may be terminated at any time with thirty days notice.
What is the process for evicting a tenant?
First, the landlord must terminate the lease in compliance with this code. Secondly, he must give the tenant a notice to quit the premises or be evicted. This notice must contain the landlord's reason for the eviction, and must be given a certain number of days in advance. If the reason is serious, such as violating the lease or failing to pay rent, the landlord is required to give a three (3) day notice before starting eviction proceedings. If the reason is less serious, at least 14 days must be given for the tenant to remedy the situation, and if simply as a matter of convenience in a month-to-month lease, at least 30 days.
If the tenant fails to live up to his side of the agreement and fix the problems the landlord requests during the notice period, the landlord may then proceed with the eviction process through the court system.
A hearing will be scheduled, at which the tenant must appear or the landlord will automatically win the case, and after which the court will make it's decision. If in favor of the landlord, it will authorize the local sheriff to forcibly remove the tenant.
Can a tenant be evicted for the actions of a roommate or guest they let into their rental unit?
Yes, if that guest was not authorized by the landlord, in which case the landlord may ask them to leave. Also, the tenant will be liable to repair or make restitution for any damage a guest does to the property, and if he refuses to do so, he may be evicted for that reason.
Can a tenant be evicted in the winter?
There is no law against evicting a tenant in the winter.
Can a tenant be evicted without a hearing?
No. A landlord may only request the tenant to leave or go through formal court proceedings to evict a tenant; he may not seek to evict the tenant himself. Therefore, he is not allowed to harass the tenant by shutting off utilities or locking the tenant out. If the landlord does any of the latter, the tenant will be able to collect three months rent from the landlord, regardless of whether the tenant was back on their rent or not.
Can a tenant be served a pay or quit notice because of unpaid late fees?
Yes, but only if the late fees are reasonable. A tenant is not obligated to pay unreasonable late fees and may appeal them as such during the eviction proceeding.
Do tenants have a right to be informed of the reason that they are being evicted?
Yes. The landlord must tell them that in his notices before undertaking eviction proceedings.
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