Unlawful detainer refers to a situation involving a person occupying or possessing property with out the legal permission to continue doing so. Such a case will usually be related to issues arising between a landlord and a tenant, where the tenant refuses to leave even though the landlord has actionable reason to evict such person.
Reasons for eviction can include failure to furnish payments for the possession of the property in accordance to signed agreements or contracts, or failure to adhere to other regulations denoted in the lease agreement. Therefore, unlawful detainer refers to the violation of the contract on part of the tenant.
Unlawful detainer is often times associated with the actual legal action of eviction rather than any process occurring before the law authorities get involved. Therefore, unlawful detainer will not be considered as the landlord simply asking the tenant to leave.
In order to remove the tenant from the illegal possession of the property, the landlord must do so by legal means, which entails filing for an unlawful detainer with the proper authorities. Furthermore, the landlord can physically remove the tenant from the unlawful possession of the property, for such action can also be considered to be violation of certain laws in most jurisdictions.
An unlawful detainer can potentially have several outcomes. In many cases, the tenants will leave once a legal unlawful detainer has been filed. In other cases, the tenants will refuse to vacate the premises, which may lead to physical removal by the law enforcement authorities. Also, is not uncommon for the tenant to be allowed to stay upon the contingency of paying any dues owed to the landlord.