How To Evict A Tenant

There is arguably no more disheartening event in a person’s life than to be evicted; after a month of trying to make ends meet, where every stress seems to feed into every other stress, you need to deal with the necessity of finding a new place to live under less than favorable circumstances. From the owner’s perspective, it;s no less an emotional issue no matter how justified it is or how many times that they’ve done it.

The first item you should take care of is to make sure that your paperwork is in order. An eviction is usually done for one of three reasons: neglect of the property, inability to pay either mortgage or rent, or the property is changing management. Although changing management is the hardest to accomplish for a number of legal reasons, the other two are reasonable common. However, any reason to evict must be thoroughly documented, and must show almost without doubt that the move to evict is a logical outgrowth of the tenant’s actions. Eviction for neglect must be meticulously documented, with pictures and written reports of specific examples of neglect. Inability to pay must also be documented; however, be advised that if your case weakens if the tenant is able show that attempts to pay were made, but refused.

Also be advised that any interactions between tenant and owner need to be reasonably professional; if the tenant is able to demonstrate any hostility on your part, that may be able to form the basis of a legitimate appeal, especially if that hostility is due to the tenant belonging to a protected group. In essence, not only do you need to demonstrate that there is a legitimate reason for the eviction, but you also need to ensure that there is no reason for an appeal. Err on the side of caution and you should be okay; if necessary, have a third party deal with the eviction process if there is too obviously a possibility for conflict of interest.

Otherwise, the process itself is rather simple, but varies by jurisdiction; check with a local lawyer specializing in property law before going forward. In general, a warning of intent is issued, allowing the tenant a chance to make good before the actual eviction is attempted. If enough change has occurred, then another warning may be given. Once the actual process has commenced, however, the tenant is usually given thirty days to vacate. There may be an appeals process, where the tenant can show possible extenuating circumstances, but those circumstances need to allow for the possibility of the tenant either fixing the property or paying back the rent owed. Once the appeals process is over, the tenants must move out or face criminal charges (essentially, the tenant is attempting to retain control over property that isn’t his).

Although it can be a stressful process, the eviction process can be a necessity. Just make sure that the process is used sparingly, or you may find yourself the target of a suit. Otherwise, it can be a final step, but unfortunately the last in severing a business relationship that just isn’t working.


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