Legal Disclaimer: The following is basic legal information, provided as a public service by Wyoming’s lawyers. The information provided is not a substitute for speaking to an attorney. Only an attorney can give you legal advice regarding your specific situation. Click here for help finding a lawyer.
You do not pay the rent when it is due (a landlord can start the eviction process 3 days after rent is due);
You break any of the terms and conditions of the lease agreement;
You damage the rented property;
Your lease comes to an end and you do not leave the rented property; or
Your lease is a month-to-month lease, and the landlord can evict you for no reason if you are given a full months notice.
Federal law prohibits your landlord from evicting you based on discrimination due to:
National origin, or
Receiving a 72-hour notice to quit, leave, and vacate;
Receiving a Forcible Entry and Detainer Summons (includes a court date); and
Receiving a Writ of Restitution (gives the Sheriff authority to remove you).
This notice can be given to you in person, left at your home or office, or taped (posted) to your front door. If you do what the notice says by the deadline (for example, you move out or you pay your rent), your landlord cannot evict you.
Your landlord cannot lock you out after the 3 day notice. Your landlord must go to court in order to evict you. When your landlord goes to court, he or she will file a Complaint called a “Forcible Entry and Detainer” or “FED.” If your landlord files to evict you, you will get a copy of this complaint, and a Summons to appear in court. These papers must be properly served on you, probably by the Sheriff's office or a process server.
The summons will give you a date and time for trial. You will have 3 to 12 days before the day of trial set by the Court. Eviction actions are held in Circuit Court. The Summons will contain information about the Court. You can also click on the "Court Info" button above for information about Circuit Courts and a directory. Keep in mind that court clerks cannot give you legal advice about your case.
You can try to settle the case with your landlord. It is very important to get any agreement between you and your landlord in writing. You should also have a witness sign it, if possible.
For example, if you can pay only part of the rent, see if your landlord will take the rent and agree to let you stay. Make sure you get any agreement from your landlord in writing. Some landlords will say that you can stay if you pay part of the rent and then continue with the eviction action. They are allowed to do this under the law unless you get a written agreement that says you can stay in exchange for the partial rent you paid.
If you go to court, you may, but are not required, to file an Answer. The Answer is a court document that can file with the Court before your hearing. If you want to request a jury trial, you can do that in your Answer. Even if you do not file an Answer, you should still go to your court date.
Click here to go to the Instructions for Answer form.
However, if you choose to request a jury trial, you will have to pay the jury fee unless you qualify for a fee waiver. You can ask for a fee waiver form from the Clerk of Court.
You can lose the case and be evicted, and
The landlord can take your salary, money or property without warning.
receipts showing that you paid your rent on time;
copy of the lease or rental contract;
letters you wrote or received about the property;
building inspection reports.
If you think you will need more time, you should ask the Clerk of Court as soon as possible about information and forms for getting a continuance. You should find court information on your Summons, or click on the "Court Info" link above for court information, including a directory.
You do not owe the amount of money your landlord claims you owe;
You paid all the rent money within the required time;
You were not properly given the Notice to Quit;
You did not break your lease. For example, your landlord may be trying to evict you because he/she claims you had a loud party however, you were not at home on that date and no one was in your apartment;
Your landlord is not properly maintaining the apartment, but only if you follow the required steps to notify your landlord. Click here to learn more about requesting repairs.
Your landlord is illegally discriminating against you;
Your landlord is evicting you because you called the building code enforcement department (retaliation).
There are some defenses that will not work. For example, if you could not pay your rent because you fell on hard times, that is usually not a defense. If this is your situation, it would be better to talk to your landlord and try to reach an agreement before your trial (see information about responding to an eviction notice above). Make sure you get any agreement in writing!
Many tenants think if there were problems with the condition of the rental property, like bad water or peeling paint, they can stop paying their rent and use this as a defense. In Wyoming, you should never withhold (stop paying) your rent! In fact, this defense only works if you have followed the required steps to ask your landlord to fix the bad conditions, which includes staying current on your rent. Click here to review the steps for requesting repairs. The Court usually asks you for a certified mailing to determine if you actually followed the required steps. If you have not followed the steps, the bad condition of the property is not a defense.
Some tenants think that it is a defense if their landlord came into their rental unit. This defense also does not work because most lease agreements allow the landlord to enter at reasonable times. If your landlord is stalking you or doing other bad or illegal activities, you should report your landlord to the police or file a separate case, not wait until you are being evicted.
If there is damage to the apartment, these costs will not be included in an eviction case. In Wyoming, the landlord will file a separate case to get damages from you. Click here to learn more about small claims.
Once the landlord has the judgment, the landlord will ask for another court order called a Writ of Restitution to let the Sheriff remove and lock you out of the property. The writ will determine how much time you have to remain at the property. You will probably have some time, although it could be anywhere from zero (0) to 30 days. You have a much better chance of getting additional time if you attend the trial!
If you do not move by the writ date, the Sheriff will remove you and lock you out. Only the Sheriff has the authority to physically remove you from your home. The landlord cannot do it on their own. After the Sheriff evicts you, the landlord can then take your property out of the house or apartment, and leave it outside.