It is no secret that bad tenants are detrimental to your rental real estate business and add more expenses to the bottom line. Landlords do not particularly enjoy this aspect of the job as they would much rather avoid the eviction process altogether.
However, evictions are inevitable and landlords must have a full grasp of the eviction process, eviction laws, and the right eviction protocol to carry them out as painfree as possible. To make it trickier, you might even have a good relationship with your tenants but they are not paying you rent. What do you do? Do you let them stay for free? At the end of the day, business and personal matters do not mix and you have to make tough calls to keep your real estate business running. As a landlord, you run a business and tenants are your business partners, but there is absolutely no need to escalate problems further when tenancy agreements go sour. No need to sweat! In this blog post, we give you the complete rundown to carry out the eviction process in proper and legal terms.
8 Steps to a Complete Eviction Process for Landlords
- Know your Eviction Laws
Eviction laws differ in each state; be smart and informative before you write up your lease agreements with your prospective tenants so both parties acknowledge and adhere to the agreement’s legal terms and conditions. It is always recommended to have a lawyer finalize a lease agreement in your designated state.
To be more proactive;
- check out US legal Forms to review all types of landlord-tenants contracts that might work for you and keep law on your side.
- landlords must have a firm understanding of eviction laws before they decide to fire a tenant; you cannot evict without providing proof that the tenant has violated terms of the lease and must show proof i.e. photos of property damage, unpaid rent documents etc.
- Familiarize yourself with the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA). Approximately 21 states have adopted this act as a base for their landlord-tenant state laws and regulations.
- You cannot evict the tenant without a court order. This means, you cannot remove the tenant or their stuff or/and change the locks. Do not act on impulse!
- Do you have a valid reason for eviction?
As previously mentioned, landlords cannot evict a tenant for no good reason and must show documented proof for an eviction case. Unfortunately, you cannot evict a tenant because you do not get along, that is not a reasonable excuse to kick them out. You must have a lawful reason to go through the eviction process if you plan to win.
Reasons for a sufficient eviction;
- Unable to pay rent
- Violating the terms of the agreement
- Property damage
- Disrupting the peace with neighbours
- Health and safety hazards caused by the tenant
- Don’t be too haste, reason with your tenants first
Before you decide to file an eviction notice, try to resolve the issue firsthand. Communicate your issues with the tenant and have a heart to heart conversation. Tenants might be more responsive that way because you are going to them first before getting the court involved. Make sure they understand the negative repercussions of the eviction process i.e. bad credit score, humiliation etc. If all else fails, resort to filing the eviction notice form.
Related: 8 Things that make a Good Tenant
- Give an Eviction Notice Form
If you were unable to get through to the tenant, you now have the right to a formal eviction procedure. First step is to provide an eviction letter that clearly states the reason behind the eviction and what can the tenant do to avoid the eviction altogether i.e. pay outstanding rent
For the Eviction Notice, remember to;
- State deadline to pay rent
- State amount owed
- Tape the notice to their front door and send it via mail
Now, the tenant knows how serious you are and should take action. If you do not hear anything within a week or so and the tenant disregards the notice, it is time to file the eviction notice with the courts.
- File your Eviction with the court
This step requires that you file the notice with your local courthouse to speed the eviction process. They will schedule your hearing and notify the tenant accordingly. Dealing with the court might cost you time and money, but it will be much cheaper than keeping the bad tenant longer than necessary.
- Court Hearing
If you have all the evidence and proof of the tenant’s incompetencies of renting out your property, then no need to worry because the law will be on your side and you will be done with the tenant once and for all.
Make sure to gather all related documentation of your claim;
- Lease agreement
- Bounced checks
- Records of communication between both parties
- Copy of the written notice that you provided your tenant
- Proof the tenant received the notice i.e. receipt from the Post Office
You might need to hire an eviction attorney if the following cases arise;
- Tenant is fighting the eviction and hired a lawyer in turn
- Tenant is filing for bankruptcy
- This is your first eviction hearing
- Evicting the Tenant
Once you win the court order, the tenant is given between 48 hours to a week to evacuate the rental property and consequently, you will have little to no interaction with the tenant for good now. You got what you wanted, no more bad tenants! (fingers crossed)
- Dealing with unpaid rent
You might have to file a separate lawsuit to claim the unpaid rent owed if the tenant shows no signs of paying anytime soon.
Two methods to get your rental income;
- Tenant’s Wages. The employer will pay you the tenants wages to compensate for the unpaid rent. The tenant has no choice at this point and has absolutely no say.
- Tax refund. You might be eligible to claim their tax refund if first option doesn’t work.
All in all, filing eviction notices and going through the whole eviction process is far from fun but it will get the job done and evict the bad tenants most definitely.