If you think evicting your bad tenant will be easy, think again. A successful eviction takes knowledge, skill, and a whole lot of perseverance.
An eviction is akin to pushing a piano up a staircase: it’s hard to see where you are going, you’ll probably get scuffed up in the process, and once you take the first step, you must to stay the course. Otherwise, you may get crushed.
While the individual circumstances that give rise to an eviction may be unique, there are some basic rules that every landlord must follow in order to succeed:
Get in touch quickly to find out why they didn’t pay the rent. Ideally, you’d do this in person or on the phone, followed up with a note.
The best way for a bad tenant to avoid an eviction is to stall. And the easiest way to accomplish that is to placate the landlord with false promises or a sob story. Ask any landlord who has endured months of delays while the tenant is not paying rent, and you will understand why it’s important to stay committed.
Once you have made the determination that the tenant cannot stay, immediately file the legal notice to terminate the tenancy, and move forward.
Even in a best-case scenario, it will be weeks to months before you will have the rental property back in service. You can’t afford to wait another month while the tenant runs you in circles. Any compassion offered to a bad tenant may only delay the inevitable and leave you feeling further victimized.
It is the landlord’s burden to prove that the tenant broke the lease, broke the law, or that somehow the landlord is entitled to boot the tenant from the rental home.
Collecting that evidence requires significant effort. This begins with taking copious notes about the events leading up the eviction. It will likely include copies of the signed lease agreement, rental application, and other key documents in the tenant file. Additionally, witnesses may play a key role in a successful eviction.
Make sure you have a good case before you start the process. Otherwise, you could end up wasting your time and money, or worse — owing the tenant money.
Occasionally, landlords will delay filing an eviction simply because they don’t know the rules. If you don’t know what you need to do in order to evict a tenant, get legal help, sooner rather than later.
There’s No Getting Around the System
One of the costliest mistake’s landlords make when faced with a problem tenant is trying to avoid the hassles of eviction by coercing the tenant out of the unit. If there’s one universal rule about evictions, it’s that there is only one way to succeed, and that is going through proper legal channels.
Turning off the water, changing the locks, or making threats only appear to streamline the process, and at too high a cost. A landlord in this situation may wind up owing the tenant more money than the tenant owes for past due rent.
Stick with the system at hand, regardless of how costly, flawed or unfair it may seem. Throw your energy into learning how to navigate — not circumvent — the legal process.
And remember, the best way to avoid an eviction is to make
your top priority. Finding qualified tenants includes evaluating an individual’s rental history. Hone these screening skills, and you will reduce the likelihood of having to file for an eviction, and all the stresses that follow.