How to Evict a Tenant As nice as it would be to live in a world full of honest, trustworthy tenants, not everyone believes in those values as much as you do. A minority of renters will give you trouble from time to time. It’s hard to avoid. If you run property management services or own rental property, the time may come when you have to evict someone from the premise. Although the process isn’t the most enjoyable experience—few people putting people on the streets—it must be done. So here’s how you can do it tactfully and lawfully so you can sleep better at night.
Breach of Contract First, evictions are usually issued when there has been a breach of contract, and the contract will generally state the rules under which eviction is the natural consequence. As long as the tenant follows the rules set forth in the rental agreement, the landlord will not evict them. The terms of the agreement can include harming the property and not fixing it themselves, staying past their contract date, non-payment of rent or utilities, etc. Whatever the terms, they are laid out with the understanding that there are punishments affixed for breaking any of these. Identify if there’s cause for eviction by examining your contract again. Ensure there has been a breach of contract and then begin to take action. Second, a tactful way to handle the situation is to remind your tenant of the agreement, show them how they are breaching that agreement, and how you expect them to fix it (not eviction at this point if you can avoid it). Give them an end date for that action to be completed and hold them to it. When it’s something like paying late rent or fixing a major part of the apartment, talking to them about it can resolve the difference without need of eviction. If you show that you are a merciful, trusting landlord then you may win over the hearts of your tenants. If you can get their hearts, then they won’t easily do wrong by you again. Not everyone responds to these merciful movements though. Sometimes you’ll run into the person that will take advantage of you because of your kindness. If this should happen then you’ll need to take the next step.
Issuing an Eviction Notice It’s very civil to issue a warning or two before you resort to eviction. Third, send a notice of eviction if your tenant is noncompliant to your warnings. Your contract should state how many days’ notice you are required to give before you enforce an eviction. Go by the contract, but also check the most recent provisions in your state’s landlord and tenant legislation. If the state requires more time than your contract, check with your attorney and property management services to see what deadline to keep. Legal advice and experience will help you prepare the right notice to place on their door. Fourth, if they are unwilling to leave after your notices, seek legal action against them. Under the right course of action, you can lead to the point that a sheriff will accompany you to the property and kick the person out then and there. When you follow these steps of civility, you offer the tenant an opportunity to fix their mistakes, and in doing so, potentially preserve a relationship with you, their landlord. If they choose not to work with your agreement though, follow the natural course of law. No one can blame you for that, even if it seems harsh at the time. You tried everything you could and can sleep better at night knowing that you kept your agreement; it was them that decided not to play fair. Photo Credit: shho, ginkgo2