Home Real Estate How to Evict a Tenant in Puerto Rico

How to Evict a Tenant in Puerto Rico

How to Evict a Tenant in Puerto Rico

Evicting a tenant in Puerto Rico is a process that requires legal knowledge and adherence to specific procedures. The process can vary depending on the circumstances, such as the reason for the eviction and the type of lease agreement. However, there are general steps that a landlord can take to effectively evict a tenant in Puerto Rico. In this article, we will discuss those steps in detail, while also providing up-to-date information sourced from government resources.

Step 1: Understand the Legal Grounds for Eviction

The first step in evicting a tenant in Puerto Rico is to understand the legal grounds on which an eviction can be initiated. Legitimate reasons for eviction include non-payment of rent, lease violations, expiration of the lease, property damage, and illegal activity on the premises.

In Puerto Rico, landlords are required to give tenants written notice before initiating an eviction lawsuit. The notice should include the reason for the eviction, the amount of time the tenant has to comply, and the options available to the tenant. The notice must be delivered in person or by registered mail, and if there is no response, it must be published in a newspaper of general circulation.

Step 2: File an Eviction Lawsuit

If a tenant does not comply with the demands of the written notice, the next step is to file an eviction lawsuit with the appropriate court. In Puerto Rico, this is usually the small claims court, which has jurisdiction over disputes involving amounts of up to $5,000.

To file a lawsuit, landlords must provide evidence to support their claim, such as a lease agreement, written notices, or witness statements. The court will then schedule a hearing date and notify the parties involved in the case.

Step 3: Attend the Court Hearing

At the court hearing, both the landlord and the tenant will have the opportunity to present their evidence and arguments to the judge. The judge will likely ask questions to clarify the issues and may also attempt to mediate a resolution between the parties.

If the judge finds that the landlord has a legitimate reason for evicting the tenant, a court order will be issued requiring the tenant to vacate the premises. If the tenant does not comply with the order, the landlord can request that the court issue a writ of possession, which allows the landlord to take possession of the property without the tenant’s consent.

Step 4: Enforce the Eviction Order

The final step in the eviction process is to enforce the eviction order if the tenant does not vacate the premises willingly. In Puerto Rico, landlords are not allowed to engage in self-help remedies, such as changing the locks or turning off utilities, to force a tenant to leave the property. Instead, landlords must seek the assistance of a court officer or sheriff, who will accompany them to the property and physically remove the tenant and their belongings.

It is important to note that there are strict laws governing the eviction process in Puerto Rico, and landlords who fail to follow the proper procedures can face legal repercussions. For example, landlords who engage in illegal eviction activities can be held liable for damages, and tenants may be entitled to monetary compensation for their losses.

Recent Legal Changes in Eviction Laws in Puerto Rico

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Puerto Rico has implemented several emergency measures to protect tenants from eviction. In March 2020, the Puerto Rico Department of Housing issued a directive mandating a 90-day moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent for tenants who are affected by COVID-19.

In addition, the Puerto Rico Supreme Court issued an order suspending all eviction lawsuits and other actions to recover possession of leased properties until May 2020. This order was later extended until July 2020, and may be extended further depending on the progress of the pandemic.


Evicting a tenant in Puerto Rico is a complex legal process that requires knowledge of the applicable laws and regulations. By understanding the legal grounds for eviction, filing an eviction lawsuit, attending a court hearing, and enforcing the eviction order, landlords can ensure that they follow the proper procedures and avoid legal issues.

It is also important to keep up-to-date with changes in eviction laws, especially during times of public health emergency, to avoid any potential legal issues. With proper guidance and legal support, landlords can ensure that their eviction process is legitimate and effective, while also respecting the rights of their tenants.

How to Evict a Tenant in Puerto Rico

Many landlords who have received late rent payments or observed their tenants breaching a lease need to know how to evict a tenant in PR.  Knowing how to evict a tenant in Puerto Rico is critical for all landlords so that they can protect their rights to their property.  This guide will teach you how to evict a tenant in PR properly so that you are not taken advantage of by a tenant or fined by the courts.  For more information on how to evict a tenant in Puerto Rico, you may want to talk to a landlord tenant attorney.

Step 1: Provide Notice if Required

The first step in how to evict a tenant in PR legally is to check the lease documents that you and your tenant signed before the tenant moved in.  If notice is required by your lease, you will need to give your tenant the appropriate notice before filing any eviction lawsuit in court.  Not all lease agreements will require notice.  Generally, you will have to be able to provide proof that your tenant is violating the lease in a material way in order to begin eviction proceedings.  Damage to a unit is not considered a cause for eviction unless the damage goes beyond normal wear and tear.

Step 2: File a Lawsuit

Some landlords who do not know how to evict a tenant in Puerto Rico assume that they can simply change the tenant’s locks, throw the tenant’s belongings out of the unit, or turn off the tenant’s electricity, water, or other utilities.  These steps are considered “self help” methods, and are illegal.  The only legal answer to the question of how to evict a tenant in PR is to go through the court system.

If you go to your local courthouse and ask how to evict a tenant in Puerto Rico, you will be directed to the forms that can help you to file a lawsuit.  Alternately, you may wish to talk to an attorney who can tell you how to evict a tenant in PR in more detail, and who may be able to file all court paperwork for you.

Step 3: Eviction Hearing

Your tenant will be provided with notice of his or her eviction hearing by the courthouse or through a private process server.  If you do not know how to evict a tenant in Puerto Rico, having the assistance of an attorney at the hearing may be useful.  Many tenants will simply vacate the premises once they receive an eviction notice, but if you must attend the hearing, you will need to show that your tenant violated his or her lease.

Tenants may be able to show that your obligations as a landlord were not being met, and this will often lead to the judge ruling in favor of tenants.  It is important to have an attorney who understands how to evict a tenant in PR even if the tenant fights the eviction.

Step 4: Removal

Only after these other steps have been followed can a landlord have a tenant legally evicted.  Once the eviction hearing is over, if the court rules in the landlord’s favor, the tenant will be served with papers that indicate when they must leave by.  If the tenant has not vacated the premises, they may be removed forcibly and can be arrested for trespassing on the landlord’s property if they refuse to leave.