As a landlord, you may have to deal with a tenant eviction at some point in time. For example, perhaps the tenant is not paying their rent or participating in unlawful behavior in your rental property. When a landlord does not act swiftly to evict tenants that are grossly breaking their rental agreement or the law, they risk a decline in their property value owing to lost income and damage caused by the renter.
This post will go through the most common reasons a tenant eviction occurs and how the residential eviction process works.
Why Do Landlords Evict Tenants?
Evicting a tenant is not something any landlord wants to do, yet it is sometimes necessary. Landlords that do not act quickly to evict a bad tenant risk losing income and incurring property damage that may cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
The most typical reasons for tenant eviction are as follows:
Failure to Pay Rent
Failure to pay rent is the number one reason for tenant eviction. Unfortunately, no one is impervious to unexpected issues impacting a tenant’s ability to honor all of their obligations, including their lease agreement. Bad things can happen to good people. A tenant’s inability to pay rent may be due to their hours being reduced at work, losing their job or closing their business, or a significant health issue. These are just a few things that might cause a tenant not to pay their rent.
On the other hand, being a rental property is a business that must be cared for and protected. While some landlords may choose to place a tenant that is behind on rent on a documented payment plan, at some point, you may have no alternative but to evict.
A Professional Tenant is a person that leases your property with the goal of never paying rent. Unfortunately, while the tenant may have paid their first month’s rent and deposit, their intention is never to pay another dime.
The professional tenant understands the eviction process and is skilled at using potential loopholes in the landlord-tenant regulations in their state to live rent-free until you can evict them.
When a prospective tenant is in a rush to move in, this may be a red flag that you should not ignore. It may indicate you have a professional tenant trying to weasel their way into your rental property. They are aware that there is frequently a time lapse between a recent eviction on their rental history report. As a result, they will race to secure a new house before their previous eviction is on public record.
Selling drugs, prostitution, gambling, or running a business illegally out of a residential property are all instances of unlawful activities by a tenant that are grounds for eviction.
Allowing unlawful activities to continue in your residential rental property violates the implied promise of habitability granted to other tenants and causes difficulties for the entire area.
In many circumstances, a landlord can quickly evict a renter involved in criminal conduct. To fully understand your rights, you should speak with an attorney experienced in tenant-landlord law and evictions in your jurisdiction.
Lease Provision Violations
Another reason for tenant eviction is a breach of lease clauses. For example, your lease may prohibit your tenant from having a dog, smoking in or on the property, rules around roommates,,, or you are being penalized repeatedly by the HOA for your tenant’s offenses.
These violations are usually curable, which means that your tenant has promised to resolve the issue immediately. However, in the future, you or your residential property manager will need to monitor the tenant to ensure they do not violate the lease again.
Everyone has good intentions of keeping promises, but sometimes they don’t. This includes promises from your tenants. If a tenant violates their lease’s terms and conditions repeatedly, you may be able to evict them; however, it is vital to document any violations and keep proper records if you need them for court.
You may evict tenants who purposely or unintentionally cause damage to your rental property beyond regular wear and tear. Therefore, during a typical property inspection, be sure to inspect for, and document any damage you deem excessive, such as holes in walls, cracked windows, broken trim, or torn or gouged flooring.
While some laws enable a landlord to utilize the tenant’s security deposit to cover damages, the amount of the deposit is often insufficient. This is due to the state’s ability to limit the security deposit a landlord can collect from a tenant. Most security deposits are typically the first and last month’s rent.
When the tenant’s damage causes your property value to fall and safety and health issues arise, it may be time to move forward with a tenant eviction.
Evicting a Tenant
Depending on the location of your residential rental property, the actual process of tenant eviction will vary by jurisdiction. Additionally, there are generally eight stages in the eviction process:
1. Examine the appropriate landlord-tenant legislation.
Before moving forward with a tenant eviction, do your research to ensure you have the law on your side:
- Consult with a real estate lawyer.
- Talk to your property management company.
- Learn more about your state’s landlord-tenant regulations by visiting a legal resource website such as nolo.com.
- Check the local municipality’s legislation.
2. Have a legitimate reason for eviction
After researching the legislation, determine whether you have a legal basis for tenant eviction. For example, a landlord can evict violations of the lease,, such as failure to pay rent, engaging in unlawful behavior, having an unauthorized pet, or continuously breaching the terms of the rental agreement.
3. Speak with the tenant
In some instances, speaking with the tenant to see if they are willing to vacate the property,, so they are not evicted may make excellent financial sense. This is because a tenant eviction may be costly and time-consuming. Additionally, most tenants do not want an eviction on public record or their credit reports.
4. Serve an eviction notice in writing
An eviction notice is required within the tenant eviction process. The tenant must receive a written eviction notice, which may include the following, depending on the jurisdiction you are in:
- A pay or quit notice informing the tenant their rent is past due and giving them a set time frame to pay the amount owed in full, including penalties, or vacate the property immediately.
- A cure or quit notice is issued when a tenant breaches a lease requirement other than the payment of rent, such as keeping a pet, having noise problems, or having roommates that are not on the lease. The tenant is given an opportunity to resolve the issue (usually within a few days of getting the written notice) or vacate the property.
- An unconditional quit notice requires a tenant to vacate the property immediately, with no opportunity to resolve the issue. Illegal activities, damaging property, or causing a public nuisance are all examples of when a landlord should serve an unconditional quit notice.
5. Eviction lawsuit
If every step of the process is not followed as it should be, the landlord may have to start over. Worse, a landlord who wrongfully evicts a tenant may face fees, damages, or both.
If a landlord does not engage an attorney, they must prepare and file the necessary papers with the court, pay the appropriate filing fee, and effectuate service of process. Many landlords opt to have their eviction procedures handled by an experienced real estate attorney specializing in residential evictions to help them save time and money.
6. Prepare your tenant eviction case for court
When you proceed with a tenant eviction, you will need certain documents. The below documents must be brought to court by you or your attorney:
- Original leasing agreement signed
- Rent rolls and bank statements are examples of payment records
- Copies of your correspondence with the renter
- Evidence that you attempted in good faith to allow the renter to fix the infraction (if relevant)
- Photographs of severe damage or testimony by a witness that shows the renter disrupted other residents’ right to peaceful enjoyment are examples of evidence of the tenant’s lease breach
- Proof of delivery and a copy of the tenant eviction notice.
7. Evict the tenant from your property
if you follow the proper eviction process in your jurisdiction, the court will likely rule against the tenant. A court order, or Writ, will be issued allowing you to remove the renter from your residential rental property lawfully.
The court system sends a writ to local authorities, who will come to the property, allow the tenants a short window of time to remove their possessions, and then forcibly remove the evicted tenant and their personal property if they do not comply.
8. Collect overdue rent and restitution for damages
When a landlord wins a tenant eviction lawsuit, the court frequently awards a judgment for past due rent and the monies for damages the renter caused. In addition, many landlords must employ a collection firm to recover money owed by tenants.
A collection company will submit the judgment to credit bureaus, skiptrace the renter if they skip town, and garnish wages and assets of the renter until all monies have been collected that are owed.
Important: State Eviction Laws May Vary
The actual process for tenant eviction may vary depending on the state in which the rental property is located. There are various ways to learn about your state’s landlord-tenant legislation and the eviction process in your area. Online resources include articles on legal websites such as nolo.com, lawinfo.com, and avvo.com to consider before starting the eviction process, including landlord-tenant laws, eviction for nonpayment of rent, and unconditional quit evictions.
Property Management In Kansas and Missouri
Tenant eviction is unpleasant and difficult. Trying to understand the laws and dealing with bad tenants makes eviction more difficult, leaving you frustrated and concerned about what’s to come. When you hire Real Property Management Consultants, not only do we assist you in finding renters, collecting rent, and maintaining your property, but we also offer you eviction protection. Eviction protection helps keep you protected if you need to evict a tenant. At Real Property Management Consultants, it is our goal to protect your investment, minimize your costs, and maximize your income, all without interrupting your daily life. Do you have questions about our services? Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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