Landlord’s Guide to Evicting Tenants: The Eviction Process

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An eviction process can be troubling, but that is unfortunately unavoidable. Many times, after due notices and repeat reminders, a tenant may simply not come to terms with the requirements, which is when evicting tenants can become necessary. That said, by knowing your rights as a landlord, the tenants’ rights, and the legal implications and processes required for an eviction, you can ensure a quick, uneventful, and perfectly legal eviction that allows you to regain control of the property. Let’s take a look at the process of evicting tenants in its entirety. 

How to evict a tenant: the comprehensive process

Evicting informally and without prior notice is illegal. The law protects renting individuals from being evicted without due notice, which is where the first step of the entire process comes in. Let’s get started. 

  • Eviction notice (complete with notice period)

The first step in evicting tenants is to issue a notice of eviction for the tenant, informing them of any action that will be taken in due course of time while also informing them of two things: any reconciliation, if possible. For instance, if the eviction is due to non-payment of rent and other liabilities, the notice should state that these dues can be paid within a certain period to stop the eviction proceedings. Similarly, the notice should also state the reasons for eviction and the period’s length. While in many places, the eviction notice can be posted on the property door, some places may require the notice to be posted publicly or handed in person to the tenant to avoid any delay in information. 

  • Court complaint

Once the notice period has passed, the landlord can approach a court of law and submit a formal complaint against the tenant. The court application should clearly state the intent of the landlord to evict the tenant and enumerate the reasons as to why this became a necessity. The good part about this court process is that the submission can be done relatively quickly, as lawyers can help you submit the formal complaint within an hour or so. However, getting a response from the court may take some time, leading us to the next step. 

  • Court notice

Once the court responds, it is usually in the form of a notice being issued by the authority, essentially seconding the eviction requirement based on the evidence provided by the landlord. However, since this is done in a court of law, proceedings can be delayed; if the tenant provides ample evidence suggesting otherwise, the court may have to convene for a hearing where an eviction notice may be challenged. Should the court decide to go with a hearing, you can expect the eviction process to be delayed by about a month or so. 

  • Court hearing

Suppose the tenant has provided evidence that coercion, foul play, or due process might not have been followed during the eviction process or for any other reason. In that case, the court will schedule a hearing, and the period for that depends on the court’s caseload. In smaller jurisdictions, you may get a judgment fairly quickly, whereas in cities and metropolitan areas, this can take considerable time. 

  • Court ruling

Once the court has examined both parties’ evidence and stance, it will pass a judgment. Should the tenant’s case be more viable, the court may order the tenant to stay on the premises and ask the landlord to cease the eviction process. However, the eviction process will continue if the court rules in the landlord’s favor. The court will issue an eviction notice, which will then be posted on the house or the premises, clearly outlining when tenants must vacate the property. 

  • Enforcing the ruling

The tenants often refuse to move out, even after the court order. This can adversely affect you, the landlord, and your financial situation, which is why the court order also authorizes the local law enforcement agencies, usually the police, to enforce the eviction notice. However, several localities require the landlord not to be part of the eviction process, so landlords may sit this out and let the authorities handle the difficult task. 

Why tenants can be evicted?

A rental property is a source of disposable income for the landlord. Oftentimes, landlords heavily depend on rental payments to provide for their day-to-day expenses. Having a tenant who may balk out on payments or do so infrequently may affect the financial condition of the landlord. This is why nonpayment of rent is considered legitimate for a landlord to initiate eviction procedures. Other than that, we’ll quickly look at other reasons that may warrant an eviction notice. 

  • Property damages: One of the most common reasons for eviction after rent issues. Property damages can force a landlord to initiate eviction procedures, especially if the tenant refuses to pay for damages. Since it is the tenant’s responsibility to take care of the property and not damage it in any way, property damage is an acceptable cause for eviction of tenants. 
  • Illegal activities: Unlawful activities that may be carried out from within the property are grounds for eviction. In the case of certain illegal activities, the eviction process may be expedited, and the landlord may be able to rent out their property again without any significant loss of income.
  • Lease termination: Tenants and landlords enter into an agreement, known as a lease when renting the house or the property. This governs the relationship between the two, stipulating that once the lease ends, the tenant must move out unless it is renewed. Failure to vacate the property despite the passage of the lease term will merit an eviction process and is usually grounds enough for a court to order an eviction. 

How to avoid evicting tenants?

The process, as is obvious, can be a huge financial drain for the landlord and will also negatively affect the life of the tenants as well. Since eviction isn’t an endearing process and can generate a lot of ill will, it is best to avoid eviction at all costs, and this starts with the landlord taking a few steps to ensure the relationship between them and the tenant stays warm and amiable. 

  • Vet applicants thoroughly: The first and foremost thing to do is rent out only to people who aren’t trouble. Having a tenant with an unstable job, a criminal record, or other issues can devolve into a situation necessitating eviction, which isn’t the best course of action for both parties involved. Landlords must look for past eviction records, if available since it will help them weed out potential tenants that might give them a hard time. 
  • Know and follow the law: The law protects the tenant and the landlord. Knowing the law and how to proceed legally will always help and allow you to navigate out of an otherwise tough spot. Landlords need to be well-versed in their rights and responsibilities, as this helps defuse situations and limits escalation to the point of an eviction. 

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Disclaimer: Local eviction laws may vary from state to state. Always consult your local HOAs or tenancy laws to ensure compliance with eviction regulations. 

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