Every landlord has to accept the fact that they’ll need to evict tenants from time to time. In some cases, the tenants are going to be loud, obnoxious, and disruptive to the other tenants and they’ll need to go. Others might ignore pet rules, or use your property illegally, or even damage the property. Still others are going to stop paying their rent on time or fail to pay the rent altogether.
Whatever the reasoning for evicting tenants, just know that you must have a valid legal foundation in order to proceed. Without a legal foundation, you’ll run into trouble when you go to evict your tenants. Remember, the laws are usually in the tenant’s favor – i.e. the Landlord and Tenant Act which you should review for your state – so you have to have everything in order during this legal process.
3 Things to Avoid like the Plague When Evicting Tenants
As a landlord, you’ll feel like it’s your right and privilege to do whatever you want to get bad tenants out of your apartment. Guess what? Nothing could be further from the truth, and you could actually end up creating a major problem for yourself if you go about eviction the wrong way.
Some things to avoid during the eviction process include the following:
- Never lock your tenant out of the apartment. This is against the law and you could end up paying huge fines or serving jail time. So obviously steer clear of this big mistake.
- Never cut off your tenant’s utilities. Again, your tenants have rights and if you cut off their utilities you’re only going to create a huge problem for yourself once you finally end up in front of a judge. You’re better off going by the book instead of potentially being subject to paying fines or worse.
- Never physically remove a tenant from your property. As a reminder, just know that your tenants have rights and you do not have the right to physically remove them from your property.
How to Legally Evict Tenants the Right Way
So now that you’ve learned about potential mistakes to avoid, it’s time to discover the best way to legally evict your tenants the right way.
First off, once you realize you’re going to evict a tenant, you need to begin documenting everything. For many states in the US, you have to provide tenants with a written notice prior to beginning the eviction process. So look at your state laws and provide written notice according to said laws. In the note, make sure it tells the tenant that you intend to evict them, tell them why you are evicting them, and make sure the date you’re delivering the note is on it.
If there is a waiting period, wait the appropriate amount of time and then go to the court to file paperwork. You’ll receive a court date. At the court date, make sure you have all of your written documentation including lease agreements, your written warning, and anything else pertinent to your eviction case. Preparation is the key to a successful eviction, so definitely be prepared and have all of your ducks in a row for this important hearing.