Want to evict a tenant who is causing problems? This article will teach you how to evict a tenant in 7 easy steps.
If you are reading this blog, it’s probably because you want to get rid of the bad tenant living on your property.
The good news is that there are many legal ways to do it! Sadly, the bad news is that it can get complicated.
No landlord likes or enjoys filing for the eviction of a tenant…
So how can we solve this problem?
This blog can help!
You’ll learn how to evict a tenant and do it right, so you don’t run into any trouble with the law or have complications with the courts later on down the line.
Follow our 7 easy steps to know how to evict a tenant as well as how not to create problems for yourself during this whole process.
So… let’s begin.
1) Learn Your State’s Evictions Laws
Sadly this is unavoidable…
Every state and county has different eviction laws, and some of them might surprise you!
For example, between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021, failure to pay rent couldn’t be considered a legal eviction reason (to protect renters during COVID-19)!
Many landlords filing for eviction, for this reason, found themselves with a nasty surprise and lengthy legal battle on their hands.
So, to be sure, you will have to study the real state eviction laws in your area before you can even BEGIN evicting a tenant.
The ideal would actually be to study before you even rent out the unit! Then, you can prepare your lease contract to make evicting your tenants a breeze.
TIP: Not a fan of law books? Neither are we! You can use any of the following easy resources to learn about tenant eviction:
- find your state’s tenancy laws online
- hire a legal expert
- consult your property manager (if you have one)
2) Find a Valid Legal Reason to Evict a Tenant
In order to evict a tenant, you must have a valid and legal reason.
Sadly, leaving a mess and being rude is usually not enough… But some valid legal reasons to evict a tenant are:
- nonpayment of rent,
- lease violation,
- property damage (beyond normal wear and tear),
- illegal use of the property,
- creating a disturbance or nuisance,
- staying past the lease expiration,
- and so on…
3) Try Negotiating With Your Tenant
Before you drag the court into your matters, it’s well-advised to try to talk things out with your tenant yourself.
According to a recent post on the BiggerPockets Blog, a residential eviction can cost between $4,000 and $7,000…
So if you can get the tenant on your side and reach a mutual understanding, you can save a lot of money!
Try and have the talks out in the open in some public place.
Because closed-door talks always carry the risk of all sorts of false accusations from a problem tenant later that could weaken your eviction case.
4) Serve the Tenant a Legal Eviction Notice
Assuming you have tried to negotiate and failed, it’s time for the next step: giving the tenant an eviction notice.
This is a written notification that usually mentions the reason for eviction and the date by which they have to leave (or to make up for their violation).
If you’ve come to this step, you will probably be serving one of these three kinds of eviction notice:
- A pay or quit notice is for tenants who fail to pay their rent. It tells the tenant that their rent is past due and gives an explicit date by which they have to pay or leave the property.
- A cure or quit notice is for tenants who violate any other kind of lease provision. It tells the tenant the reason for their eviction and an explicit date (usually a few days later) by which to fix the problem or leave.
- An unconditional quit notice is for the extremely problematic tenants – the tenants involved in illegal activities, destruction of your property, etc. It tells the tenant the reason for their eviction and requires that they leave the property immediately.
However, this notice is only meant to be a teaser, so to say.
Most tenants would take no notice of your notice… (They are ‘problem’ tenants, after all)
But still, you have no right to take the law into your own hands, so you need to serve them their legal eviction notice.
So… what to do if the notice fails to get your tenant to budge?
5) Collect Evidence
Yes, you’ve done all you can to avoid it, but it’s almost unavoidable…
Soon it will be time to go to court.
So prepare your case by collecting all the evidence you need to prove that you are right to evict the tenant.
This evidence can include:
- your original lease agreement
- proof of missing rent payments
- evidence of the tenant’s breach of lease (like photos of property damage, witness testimony, etc.)
- a personal statement
- messages between you and the tenant
- a copy of the eviction notice and proof of delivery
- and any other evidence you find relevant
6) File for Eviction and Attend the Court Hearing
So the tenant failed to fix the problem or leave by the date you specified on your eviction notice…
Well, now you are eligible to sue for their eviction in a court of law!
Go to your local court and sue for the tenant’s eviction, and attend the scheduled hearing.
It’s unpleasant, but don’t even think about avoiding your day in court! That’ll really damage your case…
So attend the hearing and you (or your attorney) can present your case.
When you’re questioned, be very open and honest about everything.
If you’re certain that you are in the right (and there’s no personal grudge), then the law is on your side and there’s nothing to fear.
8) Evict the Tenant (Finally!)
Finally, after you win the case, the tenant will be given a time limit by the court within which they will have to leave.
Again, you aren’t allowed to evict them yourself.
Stay safe, and don’t get into legal troubles by indulging in stuff like locking the tenant out, throwing their belongings away, or cutting off their utilities.
And if the tenant continues to refuse to leave, law enforcement officials will help take care of the eviction.
Your job is to sit back and work on making a claim for any outstanding rent money next!
So, in conclusion…
It’s important to take the right steps when you need to evict a tenant from your property.
The process can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to feel that way if you follow these 7 easy steps!
Good luck dealing with ‘problem’ tenants!
And when you’re looking for your next (this time, amazing) tenant, try listing your property with AQRE Home to get a perfect match!
Our premium customer service and digital-first approach help landlords find amazing tenants across North America, and the built-in communication tools make property management a breeze.
Visit aqrehome.com to find out more!