Bad tenants happen to good landlords. Unfortunate, but true.
Even those landlords that do all their due-diligence and screen their tenants can end up with a good intention-ed tenant who has fallen on rough times. So, what does a landlord due when they end up with a bad tenant that is guilty of at least one of these eviction reasons below?
Now eviction is serious business and is never something to be stepped into lightly as there are many legalities involved. Also, as eviction can also be extremely expensive, it is best avoided if possible, however that is not always the case.
So, what is the first step?
To ensure that there is a case for eviction and the exact process, a smart landlord will consult their local legislation to learn the specific process and time guidelines to correctly evict a tenant. Again, as the eviction process if very regulated, a smart landlord will do all their research and make sure they are in the right before starting the eviction process. As the consequences of a wrongful eviction can be very pricey, it’s best to do the research and not pay the fine.
If a landlord has done the research and does have a case for eviction based on one of the above reasons, a smart landlord would then arrange a meeting with the tenant. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the issue(s) with the tenant, let them know that you are considering eviction and give them the option to move out before you formally begin the eviction process.
This conversation is best had in a public place, to help minimize the possibility of a scene. Also, a smart landlord will remember to remove their emotions and to keep the meeting professional and business-minded, as ultimately the relationship between landlord and tenant is a business arrangement. Lastly, with eviction looming, don’t be surprised if the relationship turns sour quick but being understanding and stern will help to minimize any conflict.
Hopefully this meeting will encourage the tenant to shape up their behavior, with the best case being that eviction is no longer needed as the threat of eviction was enough to cause a change in the tenants behavior. However, if no behavior has changed then the eviction process can truly begin.
However, NEVER take the eviction process into your own hand by removing their processions, the tenant themselves, changing the locks or cutting off essential utilities. These actions are known as “Self-help” evictions and are extremely illegal in every state or province. Ultimately, the landlord can be fined for these actions and as this is illegal, these action reflect poorly on the landlord if a legal case does move forward and can make it more difficult to win an eviction suit.
The first step of the legal eviction process is to provide the tenant with written notice. This step is crucial, as proof that this step occurred will need to be shown to file and win and eviction case. This notice of eviction needs to contain the reason as to why the tenant is being asked to leave, all outstanding fees to be paid and the deadline to “pay-rent or move out”. This notice should be posted both on the property’s front door and sent via certified mail. Click here for State specific Eviction Forms.
Also, this official notice must be posted “X” numbers of days before a landlord can file for eviction at the local court house, where “X” is determined by the local legislation and generally varies from 5 days to 2 weeks. Now that the tenant has officially been given notice, the ball is in their court. The tenants can either shape up their behavior or pay all outstanding rent and the eviction proceedings will stop, or no change in behavior will occur before the due date and official eviction proceeding can begin. The best case would be that the tenant saw the eviction notice and does vacate the property before the due date without the case having to be brought to the courts.
If the worst case does occur and the tenant hasn’t vacated by the due date, now that the official eviction process can begin by filing with the local courts. To learn more about what happens once the eviction process has gone to the courts, stay tuned for our next blog.