Tenant Eviction Guide: 8 Important Steps to Evict a Tenant Legally

Residential rental property is one of the smartest ways of gaining financial breakthrough. On the surface, it looks like a sure bet. In reality, it’s usually more challenging with its set of struggles. One such setback that landlords face is evicting a tenant.

Starting an eviction might be scary and seem like it’s harsh. However, as a landlord, you need to know that managing your rentals is part of the business. It’s essential to note that you can only evict a tenant for lawful reasons outlined in your state’s landlord-tenant law.

Though it’s not a topic most of us enjoy discussing it’s a necessary evil. Let’s go through the steps for evicting a tenant from your rental property in a court-approved way.

What Is an Eviction?

Eviction is a civil process by which a landlord legally removes a tenant from a rental property. If you tenant breaks the lease agreement by violating the rules outlined in the agreement, you could find grounds for evicting them.

In most cases, a landlord would turn to eviction because a tenant has stopped paying rent or has fallen behind rent too many months and isn’t doing enough to make up for the late rent.

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Eviction steps

 #1: Understand Eviction Laws and Keep upholding your landlord duties.

Landlord-tenant laws vary from state to state. It’s crucial for you as a landlord to do research and familiarize yourself with these laws. This is because they will provide you with a clear understanding of the responsibilities of tenants and landlords.

As long as there is still a valid lease in effect, you have a legal obligation to fulfill your duties as a landlord until the lease is terminated or the eviction process is complete.

Failure to do so will have a negative impact in the later stages of the eviction, as the tenant may use that against you in the court of law.

#2: Document and clearly define a valid reason for the eviction

It is wise to start the eviction process when you have a legal and valid reason. Common and legal grounds for eviction include:

  1. Nonpayment of rent.
  2. Violation of a lease agreement.
  3. Expiration of a lease.
  4. Damage to the property.
  5. Using the property for illegal purposes
  6. Taking the property off the market

In addition to a legal reason, you need well-documented proof to back up your case in the courtroom as to why the eviction is necessary. Keep a record of your communications on the subject. The evidence should include a well-established pattern of behavior by the tenant to show the violation of conditions in the lease agreement.

 #3: Reason with the tenants.

There are cases as the landlord you don’t want to deal with an eviction case, especially if you don’t have a legally binding agreement with the tenant. It is preferable to discuss your concerns with the tenant to try to come up with a solution.

This works well when you have a healthy and mature relationship with your tenant. A good tenant will appreciate your efforts and agree to leave your property calmly. However, if your negotiation doesn’t yield any results do not go for a self-help eviction, it’s illegal and will put you in more trouble.

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#4: Issue a formal notice of eviction to the tenant.

Eviction notices are usually not pleasant. Unfortunately, when reasoning with your tenant ends unsuccessfully, it’s the only option.

An eviction notice should:

  1. Indicate a specific date by which the tenant must remedy the situation or vacate.
  2. Include the monetary amount that is owed by the tenant to the landlord.
  3. Be given to the tenant within the set amount of days depending on your local laws before filing eviction paperwork with your local court.
  4. Be put on the tenant’s front door. It should also be sent through certified mail.  Ensure that you get a receipt for this notice from the Post Office.

If the tenant is unresponsive by the date provided by the eviction notice, you should go ahead and file the eviction with the court. If the tenant resolves the situation the eviction process ends.

#5: Apply for eviction with the court.

After payment of the fee associated with filing an eviction, you will be given a scheduled hearing date.

Additionally, you will be asked to show proof that you sent the eviction notice with the legal amount of time the state requires for an eviction notice,

The court will go ahead and inform the tenant through sermons.

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#6: Attend the court hearing and make your case

The bid day is up and you have a chance to prove your case that the tenant needs to be evicted. It is very advantageous for you to be truthful and let your documentation and evidence support your claim.

For the court hearing, you will need to avail the following documents:

  1. The original signed lease agreement
  2. Any bounced checks or payments
  3. All payment records
  4. Phone and email records between you and your tenant
  5. A copy of the written eviction notice provided to your tenant
  6. A receipt from USPS to act as evidence that the tenant was given proper notice.

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#7: Obtain the eviction order and implement it.

If the court rules in your favor as the landlord, the court will give the tenant sufficient information on how much time they have to leave the property.

At this point, most tenants vacate unescorted. However, this is not always the case. Some require extra convincing. Therefore, you contact your local authorities to escort the tenant from the property.

#8: Collect Any Past-Due Rent

To collect the money file a small claims lawsuit. Use your eviction court order and the judgment that was provided during the hearing to begin this process.

The judge will likely rule in your favor, and if this is the case, then you may garnish the tenant’s wages or use a private debt collector to help you get your money.

Conclusion

Evictions can be draining for all parties involved. While there is no sure way to eliminate the possibility of eviction you can greatly reduce its probability of occurrence.

As a landlord, thoroughly research potential tenants before approving their rental applications. This entails conducting background and credit checks, employment records, and rental history.

Go ahead and ask for references from employers and previous landlords. It may be time-consuming and a little costly but it will save you from future evictions.

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