Evicting Montana Tenants
Montana Evictions

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If a landlord wishes to remove a tenant from a rental unit, the steps s/he can take are limited to terminating the rental agreement, asking the tenant to leave, and finally, taking the tenant to court to get an eviction order. In no instance can the landlord physically remove either the tenant or her/his possessions from the dwelling, nor may s/he change the locks or turn off the tenant's power or other services in order to force the tenant out. Doing so entitles the tenant, whether in the rental unit wrongfully or not, to collect three month's rent from the landlord.

Before the landlord can bring an " action for possession" ( a legal claim for the tenant's removal from the rental unit ), they must first terminate the rental agreement. The landlord can terminate the rental agreement in the following ways ( MCA 70-24-422 )

1. On Three (3) days, after notifying the tenant in writing if:

  • rent is unpaid when due. If the rent is paid within the three days then the notice is void. The three day time is increased to fifteen days for situations requiring the tenant to move a mobile home from rented space 
  • the tenant has physically destroyed, defaced, damaged, impaired or removed any part of the premises. The landlord does not have to give the tenant the opportunity to remedy the situation in cases of property damage .
  • the tenant is keeping an "unauthorized pet", (one not allowed by the rental agreement) on the premises. The rental agreement terminates if the pet is not removed from the premises within those three days. If the pet is removed then the notice is void . If this breach of the rental agreement occurs again within six months, the landlord may terminate on five (5) days written notice , with no opportunity for the tenant to correct the situation .
  • there are unauthorized people (people other than are on the contract, or that the landlord has not authorized) residing in the rental. The rental agreement terminates if the unauthorized person is not removed within those three days. If the unauthorized person does leave within three days, the notice is void . If this breach of the rental agreement occurs again within six months, the landlord may terminate on five (5) days written notice with no opportunity for the tenant to remedy the situation.
* These conditions do not apply to rental agreements where a tenant rents space in a mobile home park but owns the mobile home.

2. On Fourteen (14) days after notifying the tenant in writing if:
there has been a non-compliance with the terms of the rental agreement. If the tenant does whatever is necessary to remedy the non-compliance within the 14 day period, the notice is void . This can happen in just five days if the same act of non-compliance occurred within the previous six month. Non-compliance involving unauthorized pets or persons in the rental, as mentioned in section 1, only require a three (3) day notice.

3. On Thirty (30) days (in the case of a month-to-month agreement) after notifying the tenant in writing that s/he wishes to terminate the agreement. The landlord is not required to provide the tenant with a reason for the termination if they give the tenant 30 days notice of the termination. There is no law in Montana barring eviction during the winter. However, termination of the rental agreement is not allowed, regardless of the amount of notice given, if the termination is retaliatory or discriminatory

Partial Information from the Montana Public Interest Group and other sources

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