Rental Law

Tenant Evictions

Property management companies do excellent work when it comes to finding suitable tenants to fill the units at rental properties. These firms conduct stringent interviews and thoroughly review applications to determine who is financially capable and responsible of leasing an apartment.

However, from time to time, tenants just don't work out. Some lose their jobs and become unable to pay their rent, while others prove to be irresponsible and a disturbance or nuisance at a property.

Depending on the situation, there are different laws, rules and regulations property owners and managers must take into account before evicting a tenant for one of these or other similar reasons.

When Eviction is Possible

There are three main situations in which property owners and managers can evict their renters. These scenarios include:

  • If a tenant fails to pay rent
  • If a tenant poses a health or safety risk to a property and/or other renters at a property
  • If a tenant breaks the terms of a rental lease agreement

Owners and managers often include language in a rental contract stating no illegal or dangerous activity can be conducted by a renter on a property, the website states, which gives substantial merit to one's choice to evict a renter taking part in these activities.

If a tenant fails to pay rent for one or two months, property owners and managers tend to be lenient and simply mandate the renter make up for it by a certain period in the near future. However, continuous failure to pay provides you with considerable legal merit to kick a renter out of a unit.

While there may be other situations where eviction is feasible (and recommended), these are the primary conditions which call for removing a tenant from a property, according to the website Bigger Pockets.

How to Begin the Process

According to the legal resources website NoLo, property owners and managers can't begin an eviction lawsuit until they terminate the lease and provide written notice to the renter in question that they are being evicted. Each state has their own laws pertaining to what needs to be laid out in this notice, so be sure to check with local government offices to determine what is required to be included in the statement. states these documents given to the tenant prior to the start of the official eviction process is essential for owners and managers because it is written proof they notified the tenant they wish to evict of their reasoning. Should a renter try to file a discrimination suit against you, you'll have documentation showing the reason for your decision to file the eviction suit.

This, in turn, will prevent the potential for any legal merit to such a claim.

Removing a Tenant

Assuming the courts approved your request to evict a renter, you need to understand the rights afforded to the tenant. Owners and managers can't simply remove all of their belongings from their unit and turn their power and water off. Per terms of the lawsuit, tenants are given a specific period to gather their possessions and leave their rental unit, NoLo states.

However, some tenants are defiant after receiving notice of eviction and refuse to leave the property. In such a case, owners and managers generally request the assistance of a police officer to help remove the tenant in question.

Some renters leave their apartments but leave all of their belongings behind. Should you notice this is the case while performing a post-eviction walkthrough of the property, NoLo says you must abide by your state's storage and notification procedures.

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