by Johnny Simms
Evicting a tenant may not be as easy as you would think. When you are trying to evict a bad tenant, you must do more than just ask them to leave. You must first give the person a quit notice asking them to leave and each state may have its own set of guidelines and timelines you must follow. This notice states your intentions and it gives them a chance to leave on their own, before you can file an eviction in court.
First, always try to prevent any trouble with a tenant by clearly listing your expectations and renter policies in the lease. Always try to take the time to discuss issues with a tenant to see if you can resolve a situation civilly, before taking legal action.
The eviction notice requirements may vary from city-to-city and state-to-state based on that regions laws. In most areas, state laws require you to notify a tenant before termination. This quit notice should usually be in writing and if a tenant chooses to ignore your quit notice, you may want to consult with an attorney and file for an eviction at the local courthouse. In this process you will have to have your bad tenant served with summons to attend an eviction hearing.
Your states landlord/tenant laws determine the type of quit notice that you use. If your tenant has failed to pay rent then you may be required to leave a pay or quit notice. A pay or quit notice requires the tenant to pay the rent or be evicted. A cure or quit notice is given when a tenant violates the lease by doing such things as having any unauthorized pets/tenants, changing the locks without authorization, and physically altering the property. If your tenant has repeatedly violated the lease or is condoning illegal activities, your state’s law may allow you to give an unconditional notice. An unconditional notice requires a tenant to leave without any option to stay.
The length of time the tenant can to stay after an eviction notice is given may vary depending on that state’s laws. The tenant may have to leave within a couple of days or a couple of weeks depending on the severity of the terms in the eviction.
It is illegal for you to try to physically remove a tenant or their belongings from a rental, change the locks, or to cut off utilities when trying to evict a tenant. You can be criminally charged for your actions if you attempt to illegally evict a tenant.
If your relationship with the tenant has deteriorated with the issues brought about, many communities offer eviction mediation. Eviction mediation may eliminate the need to take legal action and can resolve renter issues. During this process, a trained third party, or eviction mediator, works with the landlord and tenant to negotiate issues such as move-out dates or payment agreements.
There is no easy way to tell a person they must leave their home, but sometimes you may have to do so. Make sure you are taking the right steps when evicting a tenant by taking time to research your state’s specific tenant eviction laws. It is always best to be familiar with your local landlord/tenant laws and consider eviction mediation if you think it’s appropriate for your situation.