When all else fails, and you just have to remove your tenant, eviction is your last resort.

Eviction is the legal process by which a landlord notifies the tenant that the rental agreement is terminated. In Montana, unless your rental agreement is a simple month-to-month agreement, the landlord has to give a reason and provide (usually) the tenant the correct number of days to correct the violation. You can legally evict a tenant for the following reasons:

  • Non-payment of rent
  • Destruction of property
  • Unauthorized guests
  • Unauthorized animals (we’ll talk about “service animals later”)
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Verbal abuse
  • Drug manufacturing
  • Smoking (even legal marijuana)
  • Rules violations
  • Criminal conduct


The Process in Montana

Generally, the process begins with a notice to the tenant that they must cure the situation causing the eviction within a specific number of days that are set by law. It is important to get it right, because if you don’t, your notice may be invalid, and you will have to start over. Orr McDonnell Law, PLLC, gets these notices right the first time.

If the tenant does not cure the situation (i.e., pay the rent, get rid of the dog, etc.,) the landlord can bring an action for possession in the justice court. To do this, you have to file a legal document called a complaint and have the court issue another document called a summons. You must then have a process server personally serve the tenant with these documents. Your case will not begin until this occurs. Orr McDonnell Law, PLLC, gets these documents filed and served, quickly and efficiently throughout the State of Montana.

If the landlord fails to provide all the information in the correct way, you lose, and the tenant will continue to maintain possession of your property. Savvy tenants can and do fight the eviction process. Some of them even qualify for free legal assistance through certain government programs. They will prevail when landlords do not follow the process correctly. This delays their removal and costs you money. Don’t increase your costs, call the professionals at Orr McDonnell Law, PLLC. Our fees will be a small price to pay compared to months of delay in getting rid of a bad tenant.

Experienced Montana eviction attorneys, like those at the Orr McDonnell Law, PLLC, can help. During three decades of service to large and small Montana property managers and rental property owners, state-wide, we have seen it all. We can help guide you through the most difficult situation. Call us when you have a small problem, and we can help you before it is a large problem.


In this situation, the tenant simply leaves. This can often be the best situation. But you don’t always know. You should try and document proof that a tenant really intended to abandon the premises and isn’t just on an extended “leave of absence.” This might be shown by not returning phone calls or texts, no activity at the property, a buildup of mail in the mailbox, etc. If you believe this is a situation you’re facing, it’s advisable to at least consult an eviction attorney. Orr McDonnell Law PLLC can help.


In this case, a tenant agrees to surrender the premises to the landlord. This is almost always the best-case scenario. However, there are still a few legal requirements which you must follow to successfully, and without error, accomplish.

Orr McDonnell Law, PLLC can assist you with early termination agreements which may include clauses where the tenant pays termination fees. We also can assist with ensuring deposits are accounted for and your return (or refusal to return) a deposit complies with Montana Law.