Unlawful detainer can refer to 2 kinds of actions. The first can refer to a situation wherein an individual continues to be in possession of a property without the necessary legal rights. An example of this would be a tenant who continues to live in the property he or she rented despite the expiration or termination of his or her contract with the owner of the property.
The second definition can refer to the actions taken to resolve the matters aforementioned. As previously mentioned, unlawful detainer commonly is seen in situations involving a landlord and a tenant wherein the tenant fails to pay for his or her rent, or continues to live on the property rented despite expiration or termination of his or her lease.
Each jurisdiction in the United States has its own manner of resolving legal proceedings involving unlawful detainer. The Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution assures that the tenant be subject to due process if he or she has committed a violation of the agreement or lease contract. This is done so that the rights of the tenants are safeguarded in a manner that prevents landlords from merely entering the premises and throwing out the tenants. Thus, a landlord must first request an individual to leave the premises of the property without physical force. If the tenant refuses to do so, the landlord can file for unlawful detainer against the tenant. If the landlord acts in an untoward manner in an effort to evict the tenant from the property, the tenant can challenge the unlawful detainer.