No one wants to put another human being out on the street with no home to live in. However, many tenants give landlords no choice but to evict them.
If you're a landlord handling evictions, you fully understand the angst you undergo before you finally decide to begin the eviction process. If you've never had to evict anyone, take heart. The process may take a while, but if you follow these basic steps, you'll be able to do the job with confidence.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to evict tenants legally.
Start With Eviction Laws
When you suspect that you may need to evict a tenant, begin with the eviction laws in your state. Understanding the laws will prevent you from wrongfully evicting a tenant and will help your respect their rights.
Understanding the law will also keep you out of court for wrongfully evicting a tenant. If you haven't already invested in a property management company, do so now. A good management company makes property management their business, and they will best understand how to handle the eviction process.
Reasons For Justifiable Eviction
As you consult the law, evaluate if you have a case. You cannot evict someone just because you don't like them. Here are plausible and legal reasons for evicting a tenant.
- Nonpayment of rent: this means they've never paid their rent
- Professional tenants: these tenants pay their deposit and first month's rent but nothing else
- Illegal activity: selling drugs, using the home for a gambling ring, using the home for prostitution, or running a legitimate business from home that isn't zoned for business
- Violating lease provisions: this includes elements like having a pet when the lease agreement says they may not have one
- Destroying the property: this damage refers to damage beyond normal wear and tear
Some states allow the tenant to use their deposit to repair the damage. However, often tenants doing their repairs do not complete the job as well as a professional would.
Once you've reviewed the laws and established you have a valid reason for evicting the tenant, the eviction process is pretty straightforward. The tenant has given you a clear reason to take action. Here are the basic steps to take after you've established you have grounds to evict the tenant.
Start with a conversation. Reason with the tenant and explain your plan to evict them if they cannot change their behavior or pay their rent. If the tenant does not respond favorably, it's time to contact an attorney and serve a written eviction notice.
Once you've served notice, the tenant must leave the property. If they do not leave, you can bring an attorney into the picture and sue for eviction. You and the tenant will prepare for a court hearing where you'll explain your side to a judge.
If the judge rules in your favor, you'll evict the tenant and collect the past due rent.
Research and Act
No one enjoys evictions. It is the decision of last resort. However, in some cases, it's the only decision a landlord has left.
When you need to evict a tenant, follow the basic steps. Involve an attorney if you need to. Evictions, unfortunately, are just a part of real estate investing.
Are you looking for a property management company to help you with your real estate investment? If so, contact us. We have extensive experience and would love to help you care well for your property.