Only one eviction notice is needed by landlords in Montana wishing to deliver a tenant a notice to quit, provided that the landlord can then prove they have just cause for the eviction. Each category of circumstances that justify a lawful eviction must then be accompanied by a requisite time period for the tenant to either cure the lease violation or move out. If that time period passes with the tenant still on the property, a landlord may then proceed to file an Action for Possession in City Court, Municipal Court, Justice Court, or District Court, where a judge may finally issue a Writ of Possession and order the sheriff to forcibly remove the tenant.
How to Evict
- Step 1: Send an Eviction Notice
- Step 2: Wait to Hear from the Tenant
- Step 3: File in Court
- Step 4: Serve the Tenant
- Step 5: The Tenant Files an Answer
- Step 6: Attend a Hearing
- Step 7: Obtain a Writ of Possession
- Step 8: Repossess the Property
Notice to Quit: Montana’s Notice to Quit covers all eviction types. Landlords are required to fill out the form and check any violations that apply to the breach of their rental agreement and a requisite compliance period is applied to the given situation:1
- Non-Payment of rent — 3 Days
- Unauthorized Persons/Animals – 3 Days
- Access Refusal – 24 hours to allow access or be forced to move-out within 14 days
- Changed Locks – 24 hours to fix or be forced to move out in 14 days
- Destruction/Damage to Unit – 3 days to fix
- Other Violations – 14 days to fix or move out
- Unauthorized Sublease/Abandonment – Immediate
- Illegal Drugs/Gang-Related Activity – 3 days
- Violation Repeated Within 6 Months – 5 days
- Week to Week Tenancy – 7 days
- Month to Month Tenancy – 30 days
Many evictions can be avoided within the notice period if the tenant cures the violation, or in instances of non-payment of rent, pays the amount due. For evictions under incurable situations, the landlord will still wait through the notice period and may then proceed with the eviction if the tenant still has not left by their deadline.
- Average Processing Time: 20 days once the tenant files a response with the court3
- Filing Fees: $504
- Where to File: City Court, Municipal Court, Justice Court, or District Court
Forms to File:
- Complaint for Possession – The landlord must file this document to begin an eviction case; in it, they will describe their reason for eviction.
- Summons – The summons form is served on the tenant to inform them of the case against them.
- Request Serve Documents – This document formalizes a request to have the summons served on the tenant.
A deputy, constable, or anybody over the age of 18 not involved with the case may serve the tenant the complaint and summons either in person, or by sending a copy to the tenant via first class mail and with an acknowledgment of receipt.5
If acknowledgment of the mailed complaint and summons isn’t received within 20 days of its mailing, the landlord must choose another method to serve the tenant.6
If the tenant wishes to contest their eviction, they must file an answer with the court. They have 10 days from the date of being served their summons and complaint.7
Hearings will be held within 5 business days of the tenant’s due date for an answer when evictions have been prompted by illegal activities.8 Hearings will be held within 14 days of the date the tenant’s answer was due for all other evictions.9
Judgments are not required until at most 5 days after the hearing for illegal activity evictions and 14 days after hearings for all other evictions.10
Default judgments or judgments in favor of the landlord will result in the court issuing a writ of possession. Montana state law does not specify how quickly the writ must be given after judgment.
If the tenant still has not left the property after the writ of possession was issued by the court and within the court-appointed timeline, the court will assign somebody else to return possession of the property over to the landlord at the tenant’s expense.11 The landlord may also request a writ of assistance from the clerk.12
Video: Evictions in Montana
- § 70-24-422
- MT Code § Rule 4 (2)(b)(i)
- MT Code § Rule 4 (1)(b)(i)
- MT Code § 70-24-429(2)
- MT Code § 70-24-427(2)
- Title 25.Chapter 20.VIII.(a)
- Title 25, Chapter 20 VIII.(d)