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Tenant Eviction: The Do’s and Don’ts

Eviction notice on door of house with brass door knob. Fictitious address, ID, signature and 555 phone number for fictional usage.Being a successful landlord requires a variety of skills, one of which is knowing when and how to evict a tenant. Generally, being able to understand why you can and cannot evict a tenant enables you to be an ethical and legal landlord while also protecting tenant rights and preserving a peaceful landlord-tenant relationship.

Understanding Just Cause

All property owners should be aware of this as one of their initial realizations is that eviction is a legal process that requires a court order to remove the tenant from your property. Understanding the legal grounds for eviction allows you to comply with local, state, and federal regulations that govern landlord-tenant relationships. Without adequate legal grounds, evicting a renter might result in legal consequences such as fines or lawsuits.

To evict a tenant, you must have what is known as “just cause.” Just cause eviction statutes require that you have a legal justification to evict the tenant, such as nonpayment of rent, property damage, or violation of the lease terms. You cannot evict a tenant unless you have just cause.

Reasons You Can Evict

Nonpayment of rent is one of the most prevalent reasons landlords evict tenants. In the event of a late rent payment from your tenant, it is within your rights as a landlord to serve them with an official notice. This notice will provide a specific timeframe, as mandated by state law, for the tenant to either pay the outstanding rent or vacate the premises. In the event of non-compliance by the tenant, eviction proceedings may be initiated. It is imperative to adhere to the terms of your lease agreement and comply with relevant state and local regulations.

Eviction can often be attributed to property damage as a common cause. In the event of significant property damage caused by a tenant that exceeds normal wear and tear, it is within your rights as a landlord to issue a written notice demanding that the tenant rectify the damage or vacate the premises. In the event of non-compliance by the tenant, eviction proceedings may be initiated.

There are various grounds for evicting a tenant, and one of them is violating other provisions of their lease agreement. Discover how to handle tenants with pets in violation of your no-pet policy by serving them with a formal notice to vacate or remove the animal from your rental property. In the event of non-compliance by the tenant, eviction proceedings may be initiated. All other lease terms follow the same principle.

Reasons You Cannot Evict

Even if a renter has done something that would seem to warrant eviction, there are a few more reasons why you can’t evict. For example, you cannot remove a tenant because they have requested that you make repairs to the property or have complained about the rental unit’s circumstances. Furthermore, you cannot evict a tenant because of their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial situation, or disability. These protected classifications cannot lawfully be used as the reason for an eviction, and attempting to do so may result in a discrimination lawsuit.

Carrying Out an Eviction

If you find yourself in the position of having to evict a tenant, there are a few procedures you must follow. First, you must provide the tenant a written notice stating the grounds for the eviction as well as the date by which they must vacate the property. The next step is to file an eviction petition with the court and have the tenant served. If the tenant fails to appear for their court date, you may be able to secure a default judgment in your favor. Finally, if the tenant still refuses to evacuate the premises, you might have the legal authority in your area remove them.

While evicting a tenant is never easy, it is sometimes necessary. By understanding why you can (and cannot) evict a renter, as well as the stages involved in the eviction process, you’ll reduce legal risks, and promote a fair and courteous living environment for all parties involved.

In the event of a possible eviction, seeking guidance from a property management specialist can prove to be beneficial. Looking for a reliable rental property management service? Get in touch with your nearby Real Property Management office and connect with a local expert today!

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