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Eviction – Actual/Constructive: Real Estate License Explained

A house with a large eviction notice on the door and a moving truck in the driveway
In this article

Eviction is a critical aspect of real estate law that both tenants and landlords should familiarize themselves with. In the realm of eviction, there are two essential types to be mindful of: actual eviction and constructive eviction. Understanding the nuances and significance of these two terms can prove instrumental in protecting your rights and ensuring a smoother rental experience. This article aims to shed light on the intricacies of eviction – actual and constructive, and explain their importance in real estate.

What is Eviction – Actual/Constructive

Before delving into the specifics of actual and constructive eviction, let’s first establish a general understanding of what eviction entails. Eviction refers to the legal process through which a landlord terminates a tenant’s right to occupy a rental property. Whether due to unpaid rent, lease violations, or other legitimate reasons, eviction provides landlords with a lawful means to regain control of their property.

Actual eviction occurs when a landlord takes direct action to remove a tenant from the premises, often involving legal proceedings or physical force. Constructive eviction, on the other hand, takes place when the landlord’s actions or omissions render the property uninhabitable, resulting in the tenant being forced to vacate. In this case, the tenant’s departure is not a result of direct, physical eviction but rather the untenable condition of the property.

It is crucial for both landlords and tenants to understand the legal implications and consequences of eviction. Landlords must follow specific procedures and adhere to state laws when evicting a tenant to avoid potential legal repercussions. On the other hand, tenants have rights that protect them from unjust eviction practices, such as the right to proper notice and the right to challenge the eviction in court.

Furthermore, the eviction process can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the reason for eviction. Some states have strict guidelines regarding the eviction process, including the timeline for eviction notices and the steps landlords must take before filing for eviction in court. Understanding these regulations is essential for both parties involved in an eviction situation to ensure a fair and lawful process.

Understanding Eviction – Actual/Constructive

Diving deeper into the concepts of actual and constructive eviction, it is crucial to comprehend the legal ramifications associated with each. Actual eviction, as previously mentioned, typically involves the landlord initiating formal eviction proceedings, such as serving a notice to quit or filing a lawsuit. The court then rules on the matter, potentially granting the landlord possession of the property.

In contrast, constructive eviction does not involve the court system in the same immediate sense. Instead, the tenant, faced with uninhabitable conditions due to the landlord’s actions or negligence, may decide to terminate the lease and vacate. The primary legal recourse for tenants facing constructive eviction is to assert breach of the implied warranty of habitability.

It is important to note that actual eviction is more straightforward in terms of legal procedures, as it follows a defined path within the judicial system. Landlords must adhere to specific timelines and protocols when pursuing actual eviction, ensuring that tenants are granted due process and the opportunity to defend themselves in court. On the other hand, constructive eviction cases can be more complex, as they often involve subjective assessments of living conditions and the impact on the tenant’s ability to enjoy the property.

Furthermore, in cases of constructive eviction, tenants may be entitled to seek damages for financial losses incurred as a result of having to vacate the premises. These damages can include relocation costs, difference in rent for a comparable property, and even compensation for emotional distress caused by the landlord’s failure to maintain a habitable living environment. It is essential for tenants to document the conditions leading to their decision to vacate and seek legal advice to understand their rights and options in such situations.

Why Is Eviction – Actual/Constructive Important?

Understanding the distinction between actual and constructive eviction is pivotal for both landlords and tenants. For landlords, accurate familiarity with these terms aids in appropriately navigating the eviction process. By comprehending the difference, landlords can determine the most suitable legal actions to take when faced with difficult tenants or untenable conditions.

Tenants, on the other hand, benefit from understanding actual and constructive eviction to protect their rights and interests. By recognizing when they may be subject to constructive eviction, tenants can leverage their legal options to address substandard living conditions or landlord negligence. Familiarity with both types of eviction empowers tenants to make informed decisions regarding their rights and potential legal remedies.

Actual eviction occurs when a landlord physically removes a tenant from the rental property, typically due to non-payment of rent or lease violations. This process involves legal steps such as serving an eviction notice and obtaining a court order for the tenant to vacate the premises. Actual eviction is a direct and forceful measure taken by the landlord to regain possession of the property.

Constructive eviction, on the other hand, occurs when a landlord’s actions or negligence make the rental property uninhabitable or significantly interfere with the tenant’s ability to peacefully enjoy the premises. This can include issues such as failure to provide essential services like heating or plumbing, allowing dangerous living conditions to persist, or constant disturbances that disrupt the tenant’s quiet enjoyment of the property. In cases of constructive eviction, tenants may have legal grounds to terminate the lease agreement and seek damages for the landlord’s breach of their obligations.

Example of Eviction – Actual/Constructive

Consider a hypothetical scenario where a tenant rents an apartment in a building with persistent plumbing issues. Despite numerous complaints to the landlord, no action is taken to rectify the situation. The tenant is left with no usable water supply, rendering the property uninhabitable.

In this case, if the tenant decides to vacate the premises due to the unlivable conditions created by the landlord’s inaction, it can be classified as a constructive eviction. The tenant is essentially forced to leave due to the landlord’s breach of the implied warranty of habitability, even though there is no official court-ordered eviction in place.

Furthermore, constructive eviction can extend beyond just issues with the physical property. It can also encompass situations where the landlord repeatedly violates the tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment of the property. For example, if the landlord continuously enters the rental unit without permission or fails to address disruptive neighbors, resulting in a hostile living environment, the tenant may have grounds for a constructive eviction claim.

It’s important for both landlords and tenants to understand the concept of constructive eviction, as it highlights the responsibilities of each party in maintaining a habitable and peaceful rental environment. Landlords must address issues promptly to ensure their tenants’ well-being, while tenants should be aware of their rights and recourse options if faced with intolerable living conditions due to landlord negligence.

Why Is Eviction – Actual/Constructive Important in Real Estate?

Real estate transactions often involve significant financial investments, both for landlords and tenants. Understanding the nuances of actual and constructive eviction can help mitigate the potential risks associated with these transactions. By carefully considering the implications of eviction – actual and constructive, landlords can better protect their investment and avoid unnecessary legal battles.

For tenants, having a grasp of these distinctions can provide critical safeguards against unjust treatment or unsafe living conditions. It allows tenants to assert their rights and seek legal remedies when facing the prospect of eviction or substandard property conditions.

Actual eviction occurs when a landlord physically removes a tenant from the property, typically due to non-payment of rent or violation of lease terms. This process involves legal notices, court proceedings, and ultimately, the physical removal of the tenant and their belongings from the premises. Constructive eviction, on the other hand, occurs when a landlord’s actions or inactions make the property uninhabitable, forcing the tenant to leave.

Understanding the differences between actual and constructive eviction is crucial for both landlords and tenants. Landlords must follow proper legal procedures to avoid wrongful eviction claims, while tenants must be aware of their rights to a habitable living space. By navigating these complexities with knowledge and care, both parties can maintain a fair and lawful real estate relationship.


In the realm of real estate law, eviction – actual and constructive – plays an integral role in protecting the rights of both landlords and tenants. By understanding the definitions, implications, and legal protections associated with eviction, individuals embarking on real estate ventures can navigate potential challenges more confidently. Whether you are a landlord seeking to regain control over your property or a tenant facing adverse living conditions, knowledge of eviction – actual and constructive – is a crucial aspect of the real estate landscape.

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