Being a kind lawyer does not exempt you from having bad clients that could frustrate you in the long run to the point of evicting them. Evicting a tenant can prove difficult over time, but with the right steps in place, the process should go smoothly. It might seem like a harsh process, but it is the best thing to do to ensure you keep your property and keep running your business smoothly.
If you own a rental property, you may have to evict a tenant at some point, but you also need to get the steps right to ensure a smooth process.
Here are a few tips to follow during an eviction as an owner:
- Understand the Laws
To be able to take legal action, you need to know the laws and follow them. If you will be renting out a property, it is required that you know the state, local and federal regulations concerning rentals. One of the major laws to remember during the eviction process is that you cannot carry out self-help evictions. Self-help eviction is when you try to force a tenant out of the house by throwing out their properties, changing the locks without their consent, harassing them, shutting out utilities or generally refusing to play your own part of the lease agreement. No matter how frustrating it gets, ensure you follow the laws.
- Determine the Legal Grounds to Evict the Tenant
You need first to determine the legal grounds on which you intend to evict a tenant. Some common reasons include late rent, lease violation, illegal use of the property, property damage and lease expiration. Any of these are enough reasons to evict a client, and once you have one or more legal reason for the eviction, you can continue with the process.
- Provide a Written Notice
A written notice is the first major step you take to evicting a client. The notice must be in a written form, not just word of mouth, and it must be delivered to and posted at the rented apartment. The different methods recommended for serving a written notice include delivering it directly to the tenant, leaving it with a person older than 18 years in the apartment or go through the court to post a legal notice on their front door.
- File an Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit
Once the notice period has elapsed, and the tenant has taken no expected action, you can go ahead to file an Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit. This is how you bring the tenant to court for using your property without paying rent or otherwise breaking the lease or rental agreement. Make your inquiries and find out all the necessary details to ensure that you do not miss a thing. It is best advised to get the help of an attorney when evicting.
- Give the Tenant Some Time to Respond
The tenant is expected to give a response to the lawsuit if they feel they have a case to present. They have five days to send a response or leave the premises.
- Request a Trial Date
Refusal of the tenant to file a response or leave the premises permits you to continue with the eviction process without a court trial. However, on the flip side, if the tenant does respond, then you will need a trial date from the court to be able to proceed.
- The Hearing
The tenant will receive a notice from the court to appear for the hearing, and both parties need to appear before the judge to present their case. You must appear before the judge with necessary documents like the lease agreement, notices, copies of checks, rental ledger, unpaid bills, emails, and so on. All these will help bolster your case. You won’t necessarily need an attorney, but should it get complicated for you, it’s best you hire one.
- The Lockout
This is the last step of the process. Once you win the case, the court issues a writ of possession to the sheriff, who will then give a copy to the tenant, alongside a 5-day notice. Once the 5-day period has elapsed, the tenant can be locked out of the premises.
These steps will help put you on track as you follow through Express Evictions as an owner.