Eviction Process in Montana
If you are being evicted in the state of Montana, you may not know how to proceed. Learning about the eviction process in Montana can help you understand your rights and options under the law. After reading this guide, you will understand the steps involved in the eviction process in Montana and how long each step will take.
Before beginning the eviction process in Montana courts, your landlord must give you appropriate legal notice. The amount of notice you must be given depends on why your landlord is attempting to evict you.
If you have not paid rent, your landlord can give you a three day notice that gives you three business days to pay rent or face eviction proceedings. Paying rent in full will reinstate your tenancy if it is done within this time period. Three day notice periods also apply to the eviction process of Montana if you have unauthorized people or pets in your residence. If you re-home an unauthorized pet or the unauthorized people leave within three days, your tenancy can continue.
If you have lived in your residence for less than six months and are keeping an unauthorized pet or person in your home, your landlord can give you a five-day notice with no possibility to correct the issue. If another tenet of the lease agreement is being broken, a fourteen day notice period applies.
During this part of the eviction process in Montana, the courts have not yet become involved. If you wish to make a deal with your landlord, doing it in this phase, before court papers have been filed, may be your best opportunity.
Court Filings and Hearings
If you do not take corrective action before the time period indicated in your notice runs out, your landlord can file an action for possession, which is the term for lawsuits in the eviction process of Montana. Your landlord will draft a complaint detailing why you are being evicted and a summons that informs you about the court hearing.
You will be served with a copy of the summons and complaint, and given at least 10 days from the time you are served to file an answer to the complaint with the court. If you file an answer to the complaint, a hearing will be scheduled where you and your landlord can give your sides of the case to a judge.
You are not required to attend the hearing or to answer the complaint, but if you do not, your landlord will win the case by default and be allowed to continue the eviction process in Montana.
Writ of Assistance
If you lose at the hearing or do not answer the complaint, but still do not vacate the premises, the court can issue a writ of assistance to your landlord allowing the sheriff to forcibly remove you. Once the writ of assistance is issued, you may be given as little as one hour to vacate before you are forcibly removed.
If this happens, you will be allowed to return to the premises only for the purpose of gathering your possessions, and only with permission of your landlord. If your landlord stores your possessions, you will be required to pay for the costs of removing and storing them.