Let’s face it, there is nothing worse and harder than having to evict a tenant, especially if it is one you have had for a long time. No matter how hard you try, chances are very good that at some point, you are going to find yourself in this position. With evictions come a plethora of problems and legal issues in the form of rules and regulations that often change from state to state. Here are tips to help your eviction process go more swiftly and smoothly.
Make the Reasons for the Eviction Clear
In order to evict a tenant, the property manager/owner has to have a valid reason for doing so. There are essentially two valid reasons for evicting a tenant. First, they fail to abide by the terms of their lease. This can be anything from not paying the rent to conducting illegal activities in the residence. Second, if the owner of the property wishes to conduct major renovations, is turning a rental unit into a residential property, or wishes to sell the unit.
There are times when it may pay to have a chat with the tenant before you embark on the eviction process. It may be possible to come to a mutual agreement that ends the eviction process. Instead, by explaining the damage having an eviction on their record (yes potential landlords can find this out) they may not be able to find another decent rental. It can also have a very damaging effect on their credit record. However, if even after explaining these effects, your tenant still refuses to move, you need to go ahead with the eviction process.
Don’t Do Anything Physical
Being put in this situation can be quite frustrating, but no matter how frustrated you get, do not attempt to take things into your own hands. You should not enter the premises nor remove anything that belongs to the tenant. Neither should you turn off any utilities or change the locks on the doors. If you want the courts to be on your side, you need them to see you as an upstanding citizen and business person.
The Written Notice
At this point, your next step is to notify your tenant of your intent to evict by providing them with a written notice of eviction. Be sure you follow the rules in your state and use the correct forms. You must include a detailed explanation of why they are being evicted and what if anything they can do to avoid eviction. The form must be printed, dated, signed and include the date of eviction.
Mailing the Letter
The eviction letter should indicate a move-out date and a due date for any and all monies that are owed. In most instances, you will need to file this notice with your tenants before you file the official eviction notice with the local courthouse. You can mail the letter to your tenant, placed in their mailbox, slip it under their door, or if you can catch up with them hand it to them in person.
Filing at the Courthouse
Before you or your attorney go to the courthouse to file the eviction paperwork, you should wait for the eviction date you set to have passed. There is a small fee that must be paid after which the clerk will schedule a court hearing date and then take the necessary steps to issue a summons and have it delivered to the tenant. When the court date arrives, be sure you have all of your paper and copies of the eviction notice letter to show the judge.