Having to evict a tenant is no walk in the park. As a landlord, it can be one of the most daunting things to do when managing a property.
Knowing the process helps so you don’t end up losing a case which prolongs taking back possession and setting you up for a financial set back if you’re not prepared. While laws and codes vary from state to state, generally, the process works as follows:
- Provide proper notice and pursue terminating the lease
- If a tenant fails to vacate, file an eviction at your local precinct usually with the Justice of the Peace. Look to spend close to $75-150 for one person and up to $75 for each additional. Make sure to have the proper paperwork required to submit and file an eviction as each precinct is different. You can always hire a property management firm to take care of this for you if you prefer to not deal with the stress or hassles.
- Attend the eviction court hearing and plea a good case to win a Judgement. Make sure you have all receipts, notices, and proper documents to support your claims.
- If the tenants do not vacate or appeal at the appropriate day and time as ordered by the court, file a Writ of Possession and schedule an appointment with the sheriff. Look to spend close to $150 for a Writ. It’s rare that a tenant will appeal but if they do seek your local Justice of the Peace for any questions.
- Show up for the writ of possession to reclaim back the unit or property.
- Change the locks.
- Prepare for a new tenancy.
Nonpayment of Rent
This is the most common reason for terminating a lease with a tenant. If a tenant argues that payments haven’t been made due to an ongoing or failure to repair something, then most courts will consider that a separate case of which the tenant would need to file a Repair and Remedy suite separately. Otherwise, courts and judges find nonpayment of rent a valid reason to evict.
Violating the Lease
a)Tenants can be in violation of the lease for quite a few reasons. If the lease does not allow pets is one example and grounds for termination. Unapproved occupants that do not leave is a direct violation. Guests are normally allowed up to 14 days before reporting or seeking approval.
b) Improper Use of Property
Some tenants think they can run their home business from the dwelling which is not considered risky if its an administrative job or service based such as consulting or tutoring. However, businesses such as a car wash, retail items like clothes, or a doggy day spa are considered inappropriate and immediate termination of the lease.
c) Noise or complaints from Neighbors
Having tenants means being responsible for the peace in the neighborhood as well. There’s nothing worse than having disruptive confrontational people living in your neighborhood.
If you’ve been a landlord you’ve probably experienced some damage to either the floors, walls, doors, windows, or outside such as a dead tree or the whole lawn. These damages can set a landlord back for months if you’re not financially prepared. Sometimes roommates don’t get along and a fight may break out resulting in holes in the walls and broken windows are sure causes for termination.
Illegal Activity or Drug Related
If a tenant is committing a crime, law enforcement will want to know and your rights to terminate are usually immediate. This is a no-brainer. Just make sure you have the proper cause or perhaps evidence before contacting the police.
Expiration of the Lease
Once a lease is about to expire and you wish to terminate it, provide proper notice. Most states don’t require you to give a reason but out of respect, you’ll want to include why on the notice. Some reasons to terminate vs renewing maybe you or a family member has decided to move into the home. Maybe some renovations are needed that may take longer than 3 months, or you plan to sell the home and place it on the market. If a tenant does not move out upon expiration of the lease and proper notice was provided, then an eviction can be filed.
Note- State laws vary for landlord and tenant relationships. The information on this website is for guidance and tips only and do represent legal advice in any capacity. If you have specific questions please consult with your legal counsel.