If you have rented out a residential property and one of the renters has a habit of failing to pay his or her monthly rental payments, the next obvious step is to evict that tenant. Unfortunately, many landlords don't handle the eviction in the right way and commit a host of mistakes. This article highlights some of the common blunders landlords or property managers commit during evictions and what you should do instead.
With self-help eviction, the thinking of the landlord is that he or she owns the property, so they can change the locks, throw out the tenant's belongings, switch off the power or water supply or harass the renter into moving out or paying. However, by allowing a tenant to live in your property under a lease contract, you have afforded them specific rights in the property. The acceptable way to legally stop those rights is through a court order. Simply file an action for eviction in a court of law and obtain a legal court order. What's more, the order demanding the tenant to move out of the premises is often delivered by police and, if the occupant refuses to move out, is also enforced by the law enforcement. Coercing the tenant into paying rent or moving out by switching locks, turning off utilities or throwing out the tenant's belongings is likely to result in a confrontation with the authorities and a nasty loss for you in court.
Failure of the landlord to provide proper notice is another major blunder in tenant evictions. In most states, landlord-tenant laws mandate that the landlord should notify the tenant through a written notice that they should either pay or move out within a stipulated timeframe or else they will be kicked out through a court order. The notice provides the tenant with a certain number of days to either pay or move out of the property. You cannot evict a tenant without giving them proper notice beforehand.
Of course, the major mistake of all is supposing you know everything when in reality you don't. Generally, attorneys dealing with tenant evictions offer cheap rates because of the swift nature of these proceedings. If it's your first time to evict a tenant, consider enlisting the help of a qualified lawyer to ensure you take lawful actions as the property owner and that the ejection goes smoothly.