Evicting a tenant is a terrible, but sometimes necessary part of being a landlord. When your tenants are not paying their rent, are damaging your property or are otherwise breaking the terms and conditions of their lease, you may be forced to being eviction proceedings and have them removed from your property. Evictions are legal proceedings, so they must be done carefully within the letter of the law. While state and local laws may vary, here are some basic steps of the eviction process that may help you to get the job done right.
Be sure your reasons for eviction are valid - There are only a certain number of cases in which you can legally evict a tenant and terminate their lease early. In most areas, the legal reasons for eviction include:
o Non-payment of rent
o Uncorrected damage to your property
o Illegal activity on your property
o Other terms of lease broken and not corrected
Be sure to have valid proof of the reason for eviction, such as updated payment records or photos of damage. A judge may not grant an eviction based on your suspicions, so document as much as possible.
Learn the local laws and procedures – Check with your lawyer or the court system in your jurisdiction to find out the steps that must be taken to file eviction. There may be notices that must be sent to tenants and specific documentation that is necessary to file paperwork.
Document the process carefully – Keep copies of all records, forms and receipts from notifying tenants, filing paperwork and handing other eviction procedures. These records may be necessary during court proceedings and to obtain compensation for your legal expenses.
Give tenant proper notice of reasons – Most areas require landlords to inform tenants of their intention to evict and give them a window of time to correct the situation. Send notices to “pay or quit” or “correct or quit” within the time frames set out by your local laws and document the mailings by sending through certified mail. Keep receipts as proof of notice with filing court paperwork.
File paperwork through the court system – Attempting to evict a tenant without filing the proper paperwork is essentially illegal. Make sure that you have filed everything necessary through the courts and that your tenants have been served with the proper notices.
Follow through with the court hearing – Be sure that you are present at any court hearings regarding your request for eviction. Have all documentation with you at there hearings and be prepared to prove your case. If you fail to attend the hearing or come unprepared, this could result in a decision in favor of your problem tenant.
The eviction process is never really pleasant, but it can be made smooth and hassle-free by following all regulations set out by your state’s legislature. Should you need advice, your lawyer can help you to find out the processes necessary to handle the eviction properly.