With any luck, you’ll never have to evict a tenant. Hopefully, if you take your time screening your tenants during the application process, you’ll be able to avoid evictions; however, even if you take precautions, circumstances can and do arise that might make an eviction necessary.
How do you know if it’s time to evict? How do you begin the process, and what will that process look like? An eviction can seem pretty intimidating, but if you start the process well informed, you can help things run as smoothly as possible. Here are some basic things every landlord should know about the eviction process.
Stick to your lease.
Your lease agreement is extremely important for a lot of reasons, but when it comes to evictions, it can make or break your entire case. Make sure you take the time to outline any and all terms of the lease very clearly. It is worth hiring a lawyer or property management company to help make sure your lease is exceptionally clear.
Be very direct in your communication.
If your tenant is failing to abide by the terms of their lease, you need to tell them that. Be specific about the problem. Are they failing to pay their rent? Do they have unauthorized residents at the property? Are they keeping a pet without authorization? Are they damaging the property in some way? If these things are happening, you need to offer them a chance to rectify the situation, based on the terms of the lease. You might start with a casual reminder that increases in seriousness if your requests continue to be ignored.
Don’t do anything rash.
If your tenant is violating your lease agreement, you probably feel pretty frustrated and cheated. That being said, be careful not to do anything that will get you into trouble as well. Trying to kick someone out of your property, without a court order, is not legal. This means that you can’t do things like remove belongings from the house, change the locks, or turn off the utilities. Doing any of these things will hurt your case substantially.
Give a formal eviction notice.
If your attempts to get the tenant back on track continue to be ignored, you’ll need to give them a formal eviction notice. The details of what needs to be included in this notice vary from state to state, but typically, you’ll need to include a reason for eviction, what would need to be done in order to avoid the eviction, and a date by which the action would need to be taken. If you want to make sure your notice includes all necessary information in order to be legally recognized, consult a lawyer.
Don’t make it personal.
No, you probably won’t be able to remain friends with your tenants after evicting them, but you need to do your very best to keep things civil and business-minded. Stick to your lease. Keep the focus on the fact that they aren’t keeping the lease terms. If possible, you can even try to stay out of it entirely, by hiring someone (like a property management company) to handle your eviction for you.
By being careful about your processes, you might be able to avoid evictions in the first place. However, if one does become necessary, make sure you handle it appropriately and fairly. When all is said and done, brush it off and move on to better tenants.
Need help protecting yourself from bad tenants? Or help handling tricky tenant situations? Real Property Management helps property owners run their properties smoothly and effectively, without the hassles or headaches. Contact RPM today to see how we can help you stay on track with your rental property.