To evict a tenant in Wyoming, a landlord must file an eviction lawsuit (also called a forcible entry and detainer action) against the tenant. When proceeding with an eviction, the landlord must follow very specific rules and procedures that are set forth by Wyoming law. Otherwise, the eviction might not be valid. This article will explain the basic rules and procedures landlords and property managers must follow when evicting tenants in Wyoming.
A landlord who wants to evict a tenant must first determine if there is legal cause for an eviction. Wyoming law sets forth all the reasons the tenant can be evicted, and the landlord must have one of these reasons before filing an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. According to Wyoming law, the tenant can be evicted for:
In all these cases, the landlord must terminate the tenancy before filing the eviction lawsuit. This is done by giving the tenant a three-day notice to quit. The notice to quit must be in writing, and it must inform the tenant that because of the tenant’s actions, the landlord is terminating the tenant’s lease or rental agreement. The tenant must move out of the rental unit within three days of receiving the notice, or the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant (see Wyo Stat. § § 1-21-1002 and 1-21-1003).
If a landlord wants a tenant to move but does not have legal cause to evict the tenant, then the landlord has to wait until the tenant’s lease or rental agreement has expired before expecting the tenant to move. In some cases, the landlord might still need to give the tenant written notice to move.
If a landlord wants to end a month-to-month tenancy but does not have legal cause to evict a tenant, then the landlord will have to terminate the tenancy. Unlike most states, Wyoming law does not specify how much notice a landlord must give a month-to-month tenant when terminating the tenancy for no cause. It is reasonable, though, for the landlord to give the tenant at least a 30-day notice in writing. This notice should inform the tenant that the landlord is ending the month-to-month tenancy and that the tenant must move out of the rental unit by the end of 30 days. If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit by that time, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. Wyoming Notice Requirements to Terminate a Month-to-Month Tenancy has some more information on this subject.
If the landlord wants a tenant with a fixed-term lease (that is, a lease with a specific end date) to move but does not have legal cause for eviction, then the landlord has to just wait until the lease has ended before expecting the tenant to move. The landlord does not need to give the tenant written notice to move unless the terms of the lease specifically require the landlord to do so. If the tenant does not move out by the end of the lease term, then the landlord should stop accepting rent from the tenant and proceed with an eviction lawsuit.
Even though a landlord might have a valid legal cause to evict a tenant, the tenant could still choose to fight the eviction. The tenant could have a valid legal defense against the eviction, such as the landlord retaliating against the tenant or failing to maintain the rental unit. The tenant’s decision to fight the eviction could lead to increased legal fees for both the landlord and the tenant or allow the tenant more time to remain living in the rental unit.Tenant Defenses to Evictions in Wyoming has more information.
The only way a landlord can remove a tenant from a rental unit is by winning an eviction lawsuit against the tenant. Even then, a law enforcement officer—not the landlord—will be the one who actually evicts the tenant. It is illegal for the landlord to ever try to force the tenant to move out of the rental unit. Illegal Eviction Procedures in Wyominghas more information on this topic.
The landlord might find that the tenant has left behind personal property after being evicted from the rental unit. If the items left behind are clearly garbage, then the landlord is free to dispose of them. If the items have value, the landlord must inventory and store the property in a safe location. The landlord then needs to send the tenant a written notice allowing the tenant seven days to claim the property. The landlord can charge the tenant for the reasonable costs of storing the property, and the landlord can prohibit the tenant from claiming the property until the tenant pays the landlord those costs. If the tenant contacts the landlord and claims the property, then the landlord must give the tenant an additional seven days to remove the property from the landlord’s possession. If the tenant never claims the property or removes it from the landlord’s possession within the appropriate time frames, then the landlord can dispose of the property (see Wyo Stat. § 1-21-1210). Handling a Tenant’s Abandoned Property in Wyoming has more information on this subject.
Landlords must carefully follow all the rules and procedures required by Wyoming law when evicting a tenant; otherwise, the eviction may not be valid. Although these rules and procedures may seem burdensome to the landlord, they are there for a reason. Evictions often occur very quickly, and the end result is serious: the tenant has lost a place to live. The rules help ensure the eviction is justified and that the tenant has enough time to find a new home.