Eviction and Property Managers

How to Evict a Tenant the Right Way

As you become an experienced property owner it is inevitable that you will deal with an eviction. No matter how thoroughly you evaluate all potential tenants there is no guarantee you will select the right person. Unfortunately, eviction can be a very costly process that can be more than $3,000 in legal fees, lost rent and damages. Moreover, it can be a difficult process to navigate, resulting in a great amount of frustration.

One way to look at this process is through analyzing mistakes to avoid. This includes hesitating to act, misunderstanding the terms in your own lease, and so on. These are certainly valid concerns, but one of the most important parts of an eviction is simply handling it. Some landlords are so overwhelmed by a tenant refusing to pay rent, refusing to leave, and all the accompanying legalities involved with getting them out that they may not take action right away. This, however, is a mistake. The longer an owner procrastinates, the more messy the process will become.

Evicting a Tenant Correctly

First and foremost, you need to make sure you have legally sound reasoning for removing this tenant. And no, "I don't like them" is not a reason supported by our current laws. However, if your tenant has destroyed your property or refuses to pay rent, then you have every right to evict them.

Second, try to work with the tenant. No one wants to be kicked out of his or her home and you don't want to deal with legal fees and a property sitting on market. Therefore, you need to do your best to talk it over with the tenant, which could be beneficial for both parties.

Third, you need to document the reasons for which you are evicting them. Do they own 15 pitbulls? You better have pictures of it, because innocent until proven guilty doesn't just exist on Law & Order SVU.

Fourth, give them an eviction notice. Detail why they are being removed from the home and the time frame in which they can leave. Check your local laws to make sure that this notice is delivered correctly and contains all the necessary information.

Finally, file the eviction with the courts and make sure you show up for the hearing. Not only do you need to show up, but you need to show up with all the evidence you need to get rid of this tenant. Have your lease agreement and have documented communication between the tenant and yourself. As a side note, always try to communicate in writing. Can you imagine showing up to court with nothing but he said-she said based on a bunch of phone calls? "Document, document, document," this is your new mantra.

Exploring Alternatives

Stomach still turning at the thought of evicting a tenant? Maybe you became friends with your tenants or maybe they were already friends before they moved in? Of course, if you rented to friends we've lied, your new mantra is actually, "I will never rent to my friends or family" (meditate on that daily). If this is you, and you can't find it in yourself to evict, think about working with a property management company.

For example, at Active Renter Property Management we offer a variety of services to our owners in order to help with evictions. We review the leases and ensure that the eviction process is clearly defined. In addition, we use an online tenant portal to automate payments for consistency. We also make sure to document late rent and all other "eviction indicators" as they occur. Finally, we offer an eviction warranty option to new owners and, for premium members, will take care of the whole eviction process should it occur.

In closing, it is all about process. If you have an eviction, make sure to follow the steps outlined here and comply with all of your local laws. If you do this, you can have an eviction process that goes relatively smooth and you will be able to sleep at night knowing you did things right.

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