A Step-by-Step Guide on Evicting your Tenant
No landlord or property owner really wants to go through an eviction process, especially since it’s almost always a long, drawn-out process that engenders all kinds of rancor on both sides. The eviction process can generally be avoided by establishing strong lines of communication, which promotes understanding and minimizes conflicts. However, there are times when there really isn’t any other avenue to pursue than simply removing a problem tenant from the premises. For those cases, here is how you should proceed.
Contact the tenant about the rent
Assuming that the problem with your tenant is non-payment of the rent, you should always contact them first, so you can discuss the reason for the lateness. If this is an unusual case, your tenant probably has a legitimate reason for being late, and will be able to tell you when to expect the rent money. If your tenant has established a pattern of late payments, this is more likely to constitute grounds for eviction, and you should have been documenting each of the prior late payments. That will help support your case in court if it should come to that point.
Chasing down the tenants
There are times when tenants refuse to take your calls or read your notices. This calls for an in-person visit to ascertain whether or not they still live in the apartment, or whether they’ve skipped town under cover of darkness. If you can verify that they are still occupying the dwelling, you may want to contact a property manager and ask him/her to intervene and collect the rent. Most property managers have faced this kind of situation before, and are prepared to deal with it effectively.
Serve a three-day notice
If all attempts to collect the rent have failed, and if you can’t contact the tenants, you are justified in issuing a three-day notice of eviction. In effect, this will give your tenants three full days to comply with your demand for overdue rent, or they will be obliged to vacate the premises. Be aware that there are a number of missteps that you could make from this point forward, so it’s best to engage the services of an eviction attorney and let them pursue the process to its conclusion. At that point, you are basically out of the loop, and legal action will then be taken.
Clear out the property
Once the case goes to court, a decision will be handed down and if you’ve followed the letter of the law, this will generally go in your favor. At that point, the tenant will have a specified number of days to completely vacate the premises, and for the most part, they will generally do so. If they don’t voluntarily vacate, you can contact the local sheriff and ask for their help in evicting the tenant. They may or may not take their possessions with them, and if they don’t, you’ll be obliged to store it for a certain period so they can claim it when they have the means to do so. It’s never a pleasant process to have to go through an eviction proceeding, but there are times when tenants simply leave you no alternative.