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To begin an eviction lawsuit, you first must terminate the tenancy. To legally terminate a tenancy, you have to follow your state’s rules. Self-help evictions, such as lock-outs and utility-shut-offs, are illegal in all states.
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How Evictions Work: Rules for Landlords and Property Managers
A landlord or property manager cannot physically evict a tenant unless the landlord has first given the tenant a termination notice and has received an order of possession from the court.