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Home Rental Guide – How To Handle A Tenant Eviction

Todays Date: January 18, 2019

To evict a tenant you first must give them a Notice of Termination.

Tenants who are on a month to month lease can be evicted with a 30 days or 60 days written notice. In some states 60 days is required while in others only 30 days is required. You need to check your locality. The form you use is called either a 30 Day Notice or a 60 Day Notice.

Laws differ in various states regarding what is an acceptable circumstance under which a 30 Day Notice can be served.

Subsidized housing programs often limit what you can evict a tenant for. They usually have forms where you have to list the reason for the eviction.

Some rent control cities require “just cause” for eviction, and the landlords notice must state the reason for termination.

Some reasons for eviction are unlawful. For example, an eviction cannot be retaliatory or discriminatory.

There are three kinds of Notice of Termination forms that are most commonly used based on the reason for which you are evicting a tenant.

Pay Rent or Quit notices: This notice is given to a tenant who hasnt paid the rent. The Pay Rent or Quit notice tells the tenant to pay the rent or move out. Tenants are allowed anywhere from 3 to 30 days to pay the rent in full depending on your local and state laws.

There is a notice called Cure Or Quit which is given to a resident who has broken some condition as listed in the rental agreement. It tells the resident to fix the violation in a certain amount of time (usually set by your local laws) or be ready to be evicted from your rental unit.

There is a notice called a Notice to Quit or Unconditional Quit which just tells the resident to move without giving them a chance to fix anything or to pay anything. This form basically just commands the tenant to pack his things up and get out by a certain date. I recommend you never use this notice. In the few court cases that a tenant has won against a property owner, it was because the owner served the tenant with this notice. You should only use this notice if the resident has severely damaged your rental unit or has committed some illegal act like robbery or murder. Never be lazy and use this form for all of your evictions.

If your resident chooses not to correct a violation of the rental agreement or to pay you rent, she is not instantly evicted.

You need to start the eviction process.

You file the required forms with your local court and arrange to have the tenant properly served with a summons and complaint. The complaint is usually a pre-printed form, and you can only seek unpaid rent and actual damages. Any attempt to demand late charges or other fees can cause your complaint to be denied.

One of the biggest mistakes owners make is right here. Never just put this notice in the mail or slip it under the tenant’s door. You must have an authorized person physically deliver the legal notice to the tenant face to face. Every state has specific rules and procedures as to what exactly constitutes proper legal service, including who can serve notices, the method of delivery, the specific parties who can be legally served, and the amount of time the tenant has to respond to the legal notice. Check with your local attorney for the requirements in your area.

The court will set a date to hear your case and your tenant will be given a certain amount of time to file an answer to your summons and complaint.

At this stage, most residents will vacate your rental. The legal summons and complaint tells them you know the law and you know what you are doing. They know that they broke some condition of the rental agreement they signed with you when they moved in.

If the tenant settles with you out of court, that’s fine but you must officially dismiss your eviction with the court.

Even if the tenant ignores your summons and complaint and does not file an answer with the court, the eviction process still moves forward without the tenant.

This is called an uncontested eviction. The court requires you to prove your case, but the tenant isnt there to respond to or deny your charges. Typically, you can easily prevail in this situation, as long as you have good documentation.

4. Should your resident file a response with the court in the correct amount of time, and appear in court on the date given, you each will have the chance to present your evidence and then the court will make a ruling.

The court calls this a contested eviction. If you have all your paperwork and proof in order and professionally present yourself and the facts, you generally will win. But if you have acted illegally to evict the tenant you will not.

5. If you win the eviction lawsuit, you must present the judgment to local law enforcement.

The local law enforcement gives the tenant one final notice before going to the rental unit and physically removing the tenant and her possessions. This is called a “lock out”. Arrange to have someone meet the law enforcement officers at the rental property at the designated time and have the locks changed after you receive legal possession of the unit.

You should have a property management company or a lawyer deal with the evicting of your tenant. The reason is that it is a complex process with forms and letters to file and serve that must be done exactly by the book. Any mistake along the way in this eviction process will delay the eviction and you’ll have to start all over again even if it is clear that the tenant has violated a condition in the lease agreement.

There are many eviction and collection law firms that specialize exclusively in legally evicting tenants.

Eviction and collection attorneys will handle everything for you. You just turn the eviction process over to them and they do the rest. They do all the filings with the court, the correct serving of your tenant with the appropriate legal notices, and they even call the police and schedule a date for the lock out to take place. They even have their own collections department where they collect on past due rent and have the power to negatively impact a tenants credit report until he does pay you.

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