Being a successful landlord involves many different abilities, one of which is understanding when and how to evict a tenant. Overall, knowing when and why to evict a tenant enables you to be a responsible and legal landlord, safeguard tenant rights, and keep a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship.
Understanding Just Cause
All property owners should be aware that eviction is a legal procedure that necessitates a court order in order to kick a renter from your property. You can abide by local, state, and federal laws that control landlord-tenant interactions by being aware of the legitimate reasons for eviction. Without sufficient legal justification, evicting a renter may result in penalties like fines or legal action.
To evict a tenant, you must have what is known as “just cause.” Just cause eviction statutes require that you have a legal justification to evict the tenant, such as nonpayment of rent, property damage, or violation of the lease terms. You cannot evict a tenant unless you have just cause.
Reasons You Can Evict
Nonpayment of rent is one of the most prevalent reasons landlords evict tenants. If your renter fails to pay their rent on time, you can issue them formal notice that they have a set number of days to pay or vacate the property, as required by state law. If the tenant fails to comply, you may file for eviction. Just make sure you respect the conditions of your lease as well as any state and municipal laws that may apply.
Theft of property is another frequent justification for eviction. You can give your tenant a formal notice forcing them to repair the damage or vacate the property if they have seriously damaged the property beyond normal wear and tear. In the event that the tenant disobeys, you may file for eviction.
Other lease violations are another justification for evicting a renter. You can give your tenant official notice to remove the pet or vacate the property if your lease forbids pets and they have one. In the event that the tenant disobeys, you may file for eviction. All other Lease Terms shall be of like effect.
Reasons You Cannot Evict
Even if a renter has done something that would seem to warrant eviction, there are a few more reasons why you can’t evict. For example, you cannot remove a tenant because they have requested that you make repairs to the property or have complained about the rental unit’s circumstances. Furthermore, you cannot evict a tenant because of their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial situation, or disability. These protected classifications cannot lawfully be used as the reason for an eviction, and attempting to do so may result in a discrimination lawsuit.
Carrying Out an Eviction
If you find yourself in the position of having to evict a tenant, there are a few procedures you must follow. First, you must provide the tenant a written notice stating the grounds for the eviction as well as the date by which they must vacate the property. The next step is to file an eviction petition with the court and have the tenant served. If the tenant fails to appear for their court date, you may be able to secure a default judgment in your favor. Finally, if the tenant still refuses to evacuate the premises, you might have the legal authority in your area remove them.
While evicting a tenant is never easy, it is sometimes necessary. By understanding why you can (and cannot) evict a renter, as well as the stages involved in the eviction process, you’ll reduce legal risks, and promote a fair and courteous living environment for all parties involved.
If you are facing a potential eviction situation, you may want to consult a property management expert for advice. Contact your local Real Property Management office to speak to a local rental property professional today!
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