A Quick Guide to Your First Eviction as a Real Estate Investor
For many people, owning a rental property is a significant milestone that brings a sense of pride and accomplishment. Seeing your investment grow and contribute to your financial stability can be quite gratifying. However, like all other investments, real estate has its share of challenges. As a landlord, some circumstances may force you to remove problematic tenants from your property. Evictions are such a hassle and can quickly push up costs and drag you into legal disputes. When you need to evict a tenant, it pays to be adequately prepared, especially if it is your first eviction.
4 reasons to evict a tenant
Understanding the reasons to evict your tenant legally can help protect your rights and those of the tenant. Below are some of the common reasons to evict a tenant:
- Tenant violates a lease or rental agreement: All activities prohibited in the lease can serve as reasons for eviction. This may include using the residence for business activities or even keeping a pet.
- Failure to pay rent on time: Continued late rent payments or failure to pay at all can lead to an eviction.
- Property damage: If a tenant damages property intentionally or out of gross negligence, you can pursue an eviction along with repayment.
- Using the property for illegal purposes: If a tenant uses their residence for illegal activities such as drug-related offenses, theft or storing stolen property, subleasing, and housing illegal occupants, you have a legal standing to evict them.
Options to handle problematic tenants
Before you initiate the eviction process, it is recommended that you explore other available remedies to resolve your dispute with the landlord. This may include:
- Communication and negotiations: The first step is to discuss and attempt to resolve the issue amicably with your tenant. Open dialogue can resolve minor disputes and misunderstandings.
- Provide written warnings: If the tenant’s behavior breaches the lease agreement and tenancy rules, consider issuing a written warning outlining the specific issues and the necessary corrective actions. This can serve as documentation if further action is needed.
- Hire a complete property management service: Instead of dealing with a troublesome tenant yourself, consider seeking help from a licensed property management service. By hiring a management service, you offload the burden of dealing with problematic tenants. These services can help with tenant screening, lease enforcement, rent collection, conflict resolution, and more.
Steps to evict a tenant
Each state has specific laws and regulations that govern tenant evictions, and it is crucial to follow the legal process to avoid any repercussions. Here are some of the steps to guide your eviction process:
Step 1: send an eviction notice
Once you are sure an eviction is necessary, your next step is to send an eviction notice through registered mail. There are three types of eviction notices including:
- Pay or quit notice: This notice gives the tenant three to seven days to clear their rental debt before eviction proceedings formally begin.
- Cure or quit notice: This notice is designed for violations of a lease agreement. It gives tenants some days to rectify the violation before eviction proceedings formally begin.
- Unconditional quit notice: These are designed for severe violations like illegal drug trafficking. It requires the tenant to quit the residence immediately or within a few days.
Step 2: file for eviction
If the threat of eviction fails to resolve a breach, it is time to file for a forcible detainer. File a complaint at your local court for the eviction case to begin. The court will set a date for the hearing and summon your tenant.
Step 3: The hearing and judgment
The next step is the hearing and determination of the case. It is advisable to work with an experienced property law attorney to prepare adequately for the case. Gather all vital documentation, including the rental agreement, proof of lease violation or nonpayment, and notices of eviction notices. The judge will hear both parties and review evidence before giving a ruling.
Step 4: The actual eviction
If the court gives a ruling in your favor, the local sheriff will notify your tenant to quit within a specified number of days. If the tenant fails to move, the sheriff may physically remove them from your property. From there, you can change the locks and re-list your property.
In a nutshell, tenants have specific legal rights and protections that landlords must respect. Understanding the eviction process and best practices will help you navigate this sensitive process with fairness, empathy and preserve the integrity of your rental properties and the community at large.
Contact Leaf Management & Funding for all your property funding needs
If you need funding to rehab or build rental properties, contact Leaf Management & Funding today. We provide short-term lending to investors who wish to rehab and build various rental properties, from condemned houses in economically depressed areas to high-end apartments in popular areas. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.