Wyoming Eviction Process
November 15, 2023
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Eviction In Wyoming
If you own and rent properties in the state of Wyoming, you are responsible for complying with Wyoming eviction laws. In this article, we break down each step of the legal eviction process in Wyoming.
Wyoming’s eviction laws can be found at WS § 1-21-1001 to 1-21-1017.
Eviction Process in Wyoming
- Landlord serves a three-day eviction notice.
- Landlord files an eviction lawsuit with the court.
- Court serves tenant a summons.
- Landlord and tenant attend court hearing and receive judgment.
- Tenant gets two days to move out.
- Sheriff returns to forcibly remove the tenant.
In Wyoming, tenants can be evicted for holding over, failing to pay rent, or violating any tenant legal obligations under WS § 1-21-1204 or 1-21-1205. According to Wyoming eviction law, evictions can also occur in the event of a sale of the property or when a squatter occupies the land without color of title (WS § 1-21-1002).
1. Landlord Serves a Three-Day Eviction Notice
The first step in the Wyoming eviction process is sending a formal notice. If any of the above lease violations occur, the landlord must first serve a Wyoming eviction notice and state the number of days the tenant has to fix the violation or move out. For all violations in this state, the landlord should send a Wyoming 3 day notice to vacate and state that the tenant has three days to remedy or cure the violation (WS § 1-21-1003).
- Rent Demand Notice: 3 days to pay or quit. If rent is unpaid when due, Wyoming landlords may deliver this notice stating the amount of unpaid rent required to remedy the breach and the date on which the lease will terminate if it is not paid (not less than three days after receipt of the notice) (WS § 1-21-1003).
- Lease Violation Notice: 3 days to cure or quit. If a tenant violates another lease term, the landlord must deliver this notice stating the breach and what is required to remedy it, as well as the date on which the lease will terminate if the tenant does not cure the breach (not less than three days after receipt of the notice) (WS § 1-21-1003).
Note that if a lease violation or noncompliance by the tenant is severe and non-curable, the landlord is not required to provide the tenant an opportunity to fix the issue and can simply send a three-day notice to quit. For all evictions, the landlord may recover actual damages and reasonable attorney’s fees.
2. Landlord Files an Eviction Lawsuit with the Court
The next step in the Wyoming eviction process is filing a complaint with the court. If the tenant has not cured the breach by the end of the notice period (or if the violation is uncurable and the notice period expires), the landlord may file a forcible entry and detainer action (the eviction lawsuit) in the Wyoming Circuit Court within the same judicial district as the rental property (WS § 1-21-1001).
The eviction complaint form generally includes the following:
- The county and case number
- The names and addresses of both parties
- A description of the rental property
- The reason and basis for the eviction
- The monthly rent rate
- The amount of rent, damages, and other fees due
- A demand for possession
3. Court Serves Tenant a Summons
After the landlord files a claim, the court will issue a summons to be served to the tenant. The summons demands the tenant’s presence in court on a specified date and time. The date of the court hearing will be the return day of the summons by default (unless the action is continued, the place of trial changes, or one of the parties requests a jury) (WS § 1-21-1008).
The summons also includes:
- The name of the court and both parties
- The name and address of the landlord’s attorney (or the landlord, if unrepresented)
- The cause of the complaint
- The time and place of the trial
- A warning that failure to appear and defend may result in a default judgment against the tenant
- The clerk’s signature and court seal
The landlord must complete the summons form properly and then present it to the clerk for signature and seal. The landlord will then need to have it served to the tenant by the sheriff of the county, a U.S. marshal or marshal’s designee, or any person at least 18 years old who is not a party in the case. The fee to have the sheriff serve the summons in Wyoming is $50 for the first three attempts and $10 for each subsequent attempt (WY Stat § 18-3-608).
Service of the summons along with a copy of the complaint should be made personally to the tenant whenever possible – if not, it can be served by leaving a copy with a resident over 14 years old at the rental unit, by serving it to an employee at the tenant’s place of business, or by delivering a copy to an agent authorized to receive service of process (WY Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 4). Service must be completed between three and 12 days before the trial date (WS § 1-21-1004).
The tenant is not required to file a written answer to the complaint to attend the hearing (WS § 1-21-1004). Tenants can also request a continuance (a delay of the hearing), but it cannot be longer than two days unless the tenant gives a bond to the landlord with good and sufficient surety approved by the circuit court. This bond covers the rent and other costs that may accrue if the tenant loses the case (WS § 1-21-1007).
4. Landlord and Tenant Attend Court Hearing and Receive Judgment
On the day of the eviction hearing, the landlord should bring copies of the lease agreement, the eviction notice with proof of service, the complaint, and any evidence of the lease violation. Both the landlord and tenant will present their cases and any evidence to the judge, who will afterwards issue a judgment.
If the judge rules in the landlord’s favor, the circuit court will enter a judgment for the landlord’s restitution of the property as well as any rent and any other amounts due (WS § 1-21-1008). Note that if the renter damaged the rental property, they are liable for the cost of those damages plus interest at 10% per annum on unpaid amounts. The landlord may take legal action to recover those damages (WS § 1-21-1211).
At the landlord’s request, the court will also issue a Writ of Restitution authorizing the tenant’s removal from the rental premises (WS § 1-21-1012). The landlord can ask for a writ immediately after the trial or later.
5. Tenant Gets Two Days to Move Out
After it is issued, the writ will be directed to the sheriff of the county. Unless the tenant files an appeal, the sheriff must execute it and remove the tenant within two days after receiving the writ (Sundays excepted). This effectively gives the tenant two days’ notice or less to vacate the unit (WS § 1-21-1013).
6. Sheriff Returns to Forcibly Remove the Tenant
If the tenant has not moved out when the sheriff returns, the officer will forcibly remove the tenant with their possessions and restore possession of the property to the landlord (WS § 1-21-1013).
If the tenant files an appeal, the sheriff will immediately delay the execution of the writ and place the tenant back in possession if they have already been removed. The tenant’s appeal cannot delay the execution unless the tenant executes and files a bond with the court within 48 hours after the judgment is entered. This bond must have two or more sufficient sureties approved by the court to cover any costs the landlord would be owed should the tenant lose the appeal. The appeal court may require a larger bond from the tenant (WS § 1-21-1014).
Additionally, while the appeal is pending, the tenant is responsible for depositing all rent payments with the court as it becomes due. If at any point the tenant stops paying rent, the landlord may be awarded a default judgment (WS § 1-21-1015).
If the tenant leaves behind any personal property after the eviction, it must be stored and disposed of in the following manner according to WS § 1-21-1210:
- Any trash, hazardous materials, perishable items, or otherwise valueless and abandoned property may be disposed of immediately.
- For valuable property, the landlord must provide written notice to the tenant describing the items and stating that they have seven days to claim their property before it is disposed of. This notice can be served formally, mailed by certified mail, or published in a local newspaper.
- If the landlord gets no written response from the tenant stating their intent to claim the items, they will be deemed abandoned. The landlord can retain or dispose of them.
- If the tenant does respond in writing before the seven days are up, the landlord must hold the items for an additional seven days after the response is received. If the tenant fails to take possession of the items within the additional 15-day period, they are deemed abandoned.
- The tenant is responsible for paying all storage and removal costs (including reasonable costs if the landlord stores the property themselves) and must do so before claiming their belongings.
- The landlord is not liable for any loss or damage of items resulting from storage.
Evicting a Squatter in Wyoming
A squatter is a person who moves into a vacant or abandoned property without getting permission from the owner or paying rent. Squatters can usually be charged as criminal trespassers and be evicted like any other tenant. However, some squatters can receive the right to possession by meeting certain state-determined criteria. In Wyoming, squatters must have lived in the property for ten continuous years to invoke Wyoming squatters rights and claim right of possession (WS § 1-3-103). Their possession must also be:
- Hostile/Adverse—The squatter must not have a valid lease with the owner
- Actual—The squatter must be actively residing on the property
- Open and Notorious—The squatter is openly and obviously living there.
- Exclusive—The squatter does not share possession of the property with anyone else.
- Continuous—The squatter must hold continuous and uninterrupted possession.
While relatively rare, if a squatter meets all these criteria, they have “color of title”: the right of legal ownership without having a written deed to the property. They can file an action for adverse possession in Wyoming to legally obtain the title to the property. However, in most cases, a squatter will not meet the criteria and can be removed. If you think a squatter is living in your vacant property in Wyoming, you should:
- Call local law enforcement.
- Determine whether the person is a trespasser or a squatter.
- If the person is a trespasser, they can be removed immediately by a police officer.
- If the person is a squatter, you must contact the sheriff’s office.
- Send the squatter an eviction notice as per the eviction process in Wyoming.
- If the squatter does not vacate the premises by the end of the notice period, file for eviction and follow the typical eviction process.
- Only the sheriff can physically remove a squatter from your property. You cannot do so, and neither can a police officer.
Wyoming Eviction Cost Estimates
This chart shows estimates of the approximate cost of an eviction in Wyoming, according to civil procedure in the state and iPropertyManagement. A highly accurate estimate of an eviction is impossible to provide, as cases and circumstances vary so widely. Remember to factor in other losses due to an eviction as well, such as lost rent, time, and stress.
|Action||Approximate Cost (Circuit Court)|
|Service of court summons by sheriff||$50 for first three attempts; $10 for each subsequent attempt|
|Service of writ of possession||$50 for first three attempts; $10 for each subsequent attempt|
|Notice of appeal filing fee||$85|
|Average locksmith fees||$160|
|Storage fees for abandoned property||Varies|
|Tenant turnover costs||Varies|
Wyoming Eviction Time Estimates
The chart below shows an estimate of the duration of each part of the Wyoming eviction process timeline. Keep in mind that the length of eviction cases varies widely depending on the complexity of the eviction, the court’s current caseload, and whether or not the tenant contests or appeals the lawsuit.
|Eviction notice period||3 days|
|Service of summons||3-12 days before the trial|
|Maximum continuance||2 days|
|Eviction hearing||The return day of the summons|
|Issuance of writ of restitution||A few days|
|Time to quit after writ is posted||2 days|
|Appeal period||48 hours|
- Wyoming Rules of Civil Procedure – The specific rules of civil procedure and court policies in Wyoming.
The eviction process in any state can be long and complex, so hiring an eviction attorney is advised in most cases. It’s also important to note that municipalities and local governments often have stricter laws and requirements for landlords, so be sure to check local statutes as well as state ones. However, by reviewing the legal procedures and Wyoming laws on eviction, you can feel more confident pursuing an eviction in this state.
Innago does not provide legal advice. The content and materials provided in this article are for general informational purposes only and may not be the most up-to-date information.