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What Exactly Happens When You Need to Evict a Tenant?

Taking legal action against a problem tenant can be stressful for new landlords. However, evicting a tenant is a simple and straightforward process. Many states will protect the tenant’s legal rights while allowing the landlord to freely conduct business without undue burden or hardship.

The steps below were designed with landlords in mind. The overall goal of this guide is to introduce you to the eviction process. It’s also an excellent bookmark to use as a refresher reference for later use.

Step 1: Document Your Observations of the Tenant’s Violations

As a general rule of thumb, it is important to keep a separate file for each tenant and take note of any lease agreement violations. Each note entry should include photographs, recordings (where applicable), the date, time, and name of all parties involved or observed. Be careful not to violate a tenant’s right to privacy when collecting evidence.

Step 2: Try Having a Reasonable Discussion with the Tenant

Life happens. Occasionally, a tenant might be experiencing a major life change that may be a key contributing factor to the violation. Evicting a tenant can be a nasty and expensive process. Perhaps having a talk with him or her will help resolve the situation before it escalates.

Step 3: Serve the Correct Notice to Remediate or Vacate

A tenant, who continues to be a nuisance, can be notified to remedy the violation or leave the premises.

The notice can be mailed or hand-delivered to the tenant. However, he or she could contest that they never received it. Detail-oriented landlords might benefit from using a process server or requesting a signed return receipt.

Step 4: File a Lawsuit in Court and Obtain an  Eviction

If the required notice proved to be ineffective at solving the problem, then it is time to file a complaint in court. Eviction actions under $10,000 should be filed within the justice court system. Amounts exceeding this number are usually filed within the Superior Court System.

If the court rules in your favor, you will be issued a Writ after the judgment. This writ is court-given permission to remove the tenant from the unit.

Step 5: Remove the Tenant and Their Belongings from the Premises

A tenant that refuses to leave the premises will have to be forcibly removed by the sheriff. Law enforcement officials will usually allow the tenant one or two days to pack their belongings and leave. Do your best to comply and discuss any special circumstances with the sheriff that may hasten the eviction.

At this stage, it’s common for tenants to leave personal belongings behind. In some states, you are required to hold their possessions for a certain number of days after the Writ has been served. Landlords are usually permitted to move the belongings to an unoccupied unit or self-storage facility after evicting a tenant.

After this time period, you are free to clean the unit and rent to another tenant.

Try to Recoup Your Losses in Civil Court

After evicting a tenant, you may be able to reclaim a few of the costs associated with the eviction processing, including:

  • Past due rent and late fees
  • Court costs and service fees
  • Reasonable storage costs
  • Additional damages as deemed appropriate by the court

Pursuing remedies should be discussed with a licensed attorney that can help you determine if suing your former tenant in civil court is right for your situation.

Final Thoughts and Considerations

It may be worth the time and effort to build in strategies that make managing the eviction process easier, particularly if you own a larger complex. This could include checklists, template notice letters, and making yourself (pleasantly) familiar with your local courthouse library and clerks.

On the other hand, working with a company like Property Management Pros can help you avoid the stress and difficulties of managing tenant evictions. Please contact us here to find out how we can help you with your properties.

How to Reduce Your Turnover Damage With Quality Renters.

Preparing your rental for a new tenant isn’t a hassle. If, you do your due diligence. You can hire the best vendors and line them up to turn the unit fast. But, what if the cost exceeds the deposit? You can put the rest through collections but when will you see that money? The key to reducing your turnover damage is putting the right tenants in your rental. This increases your chances of avoiding the damage altogether. So, how does landlord find a great tenant?

Tenant screening:

Tenant screening is always worth it. You never want to put a tenant in your rental without a thorough background check. You can add an authorization form in the application. Then applicants authorize you to run all the screenings. There are some basics that must take place at every screening.

  • Credit check: The credit check reveals a lot about your prospect. If your tenant is reckless with their spending that will be evident in their credit score. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider them. It means there are some red flags to look for.
  1. Did a former landlord send them to collections?
  2. Do they have an eviction on their record?
  3. Are they up to date on their utility bills? Do they have an open bankruptcy?
  4. If any of these are present, you may want to reconsider renting to the prospect.

If they can’t take care of their credit, can they take care of your property?

  • Criminal check: You must conduct a criminal check on each prospect. This way it keeps you and the neighbors safe. It ties into managing the damage to your home too. Criminals tend to live by their own rules, not yours. By avoiding repeat offenders and violent criminals you bypass many issues. Examples include squatters and property damage.
  • Landlord reference: Landlord references are especially important for getting a good tenant. It’s a way you can tell if the tenant has a history of damaging rentals. But, you need the proper strategy. Call the current landlord. You want to ask about money owed, relationship with neighbors, property damage, and lease violations. Then, you want to call the former landlord and ask the same questions. The former landlord has nothing to lose by being completely honest. The current landlord may tell you what a great tenant they are because they want them out.

Make your rental shine:

Your goal is to find a high-quality renter who won’t destroy your rental. To reach that goal, you must present a rental that attracts high-quality renters. You want plenty of applicants to choose from in case the first one doesn’t work.

High-quality photos: Take high-quality photos that highlight the best features of the home. What are the most attractive aspects of the unit? For example, highlight hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, his and her sinks in the master baths, spacious kitchen, and high ceilings. If you can, use a wide-angle lens for your photos. Otherwise, take your pictures diagonally to get the widest view of each room.

Video tours: Video tours allow prospects to view your rental from the comfort of their home. This saves you time too because you don’t have to be present for the tour. Video tours are a must have. Prospects can get the most realistic view of the home and you can highlight the best parts of the unit.

Choose your words wisely:

High-quality renters don’t want a cozy home they want a spacious home. Don’t just state what upgrades you did to the rental. Talk about the benefits of the upgrades. Instead of saying ‘new garage’ say upgraded garage to protect your car and provide added storage space. Don’t say ‘new AC’. Say new energy efficient air conditioner. Keeps your home cool for less.

Make sure it’s well priced:

The price of the home will determine the quality of the prospects who apply. If you price it too low, good prospects will wonder why it’s so cheap. They will not apply. You may find yourself with several applicants that don’t qualify if the price is too low. If you price it too high, no one will contact you. They can’t afford it, and they can get a better deal elsewhere. Do your research and see what other comparable homes are charging for rent. Try to match that closely but take upgrades into account when pricing.

The best way to prevent damage to your unit is to rent to quality tenants. To do that you must have a rental that shines and attracts great tenants to your property. Looking to fill your unit? Let the experts at Property Management help. We show you how to find the best renters for the highest return on investment. Contact us today.

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Disclaimer: Property Management Pros is not intended to be marketed as a Property Management Franchise, but rather a License. Every state has different laws regarding real estate and brokerage laws dealing with Franchises and Licenses.