If you're a landlord (especially if you have multiple units), the truth is you're going to end up dealing with a lot of tenants throughout the years. Some are going to be dream tenants because they pay their rent on time. Others are going to test your patience. They may struggle to pay their rent, play loud music, or do other things that violate their lease agreement.
In the unfortunate event where you must evict someone from your property or unit, there is a legal process that must be followed to protect you and the tenant. If you're wondering how to evict a tenant, here are a few tips to consider before starting the process:
Legal Reasons to Evict a Tenant
Warning: Make sure you have the right to evict your tenant. The law forbids a landlord to simply evict a tenant because they don't like them. Tenants have rights, so it's important to step carefully when proceeding.
In fact, here are some reasons why you can evict someone:
- Late rent payment. Even though it's okay to allow late rental payments to slide once in a while, you have every right to evict someone the first time they're late with their payment.
- Not following the rules outlined in their lease. The most common rule broken is bringing pets into a building when they're not allowed. Another common offense is allowing a roommate to stay without informing you.
- Bothering other tenants. Some tenants can be quite disruptive, like playing loud music or being too noisy in the common areas.
- Participating in illegal activities. You have every right to evict someone who is doing drugs (or something worse) in your apartment. In fact, you could be found liable for illegal dealings of your tenants, therefore, it's vital to nip illegal activity in the bud...and you can take proper action through an eviction process.
How to Evict a Tenant
Once you have legal reasons to evict, there's a certain protocol you must follow to proceed legally:
Put it in writing. It's important that you let your tenant know what they did wrong and why you're evicting them. Most of the time, you need to give them a few days to make the necessary changes if they want to stay.
File for a court hearing. After a waiting period, you will get a notice of your court date. Use this time wisely to get your case ready for trial.
Show up at the appointed day and time. Talk to the judge about the problem. Make sure you practice this with your lawyer before your day in court.
Listen to the judge. The judge will decide if the eviction will take place. If he or she rules in favor of your tenant, you have to let him or her stay.
Eviction day. If you win in court, the judge will let the tenants know how long they have until they need to move out.
Get law enforcement involved. There are times when a tenant won't leave and you have every right to call law enforcement to personally escort your tenants off of your property.
Make sure you work with a lawyer. Not only do you need a lawyer on your side in case it goes to court, but your lawyer will also make sure your lease is legally binding.
Eviction is serious. Though you may want to throw out multiple tenants, the truth is you can't do that. They have rights so you need to make sure they're doing something that they shouldn't before you start the proceedings. Once you do, a lawyer will be able to make sure that you follow the correct protocol.