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Evicting a Tenant in the USA

By: Elite Legacy Education, June 9, 2017

Every landlord’s worst nightmare is a tenant that needs to be evicted for one reason or another. Unfortunately, you are likely to experience this at least once in your career as a landlord. If not, you are one of the lucky few. Either way, it never hurts to be prepared for the worst.

 

When might you need to evict a tenant?

 

There are several situations when it would be suitable to evict a tenant. The most common reasons are:

 

  • Not making rent payments. This is an immediate indicator that you may need to evict the tenant to avoid further losses. Generally, if the tenant has refused to pay then you will want to find a new tenant so you can continue receiving this source of cash flow.
  • Causing damage to the property. If a tenant is damaging your rental property, then you will likely have grounds to evict them. Now, we know accidents happen but this refers to intentional and excessive damage.
  • Disturbing other tenants of the property. No, this isn’t referring to little things that may annoy roommates. This refers to any harm that someone could be inflicting upon other tenants. It could be in the form of stealing, physical harm or other actions. It may even be in the form of excessive noise, which is typically addressed in most rental agreements.
  • Any other lease agreement violations. Typically, the tenants will have to violate a clause on a number of occasions to warrant being evicted. So long as you provide an initial warning, you will likely be able to evict the tenant if they continue to disregard the agreement.

 

The process of evicting a tenant.

 

One major word of caution – you must follow the regulations carefully. Do not try and attempt to evict a tenant using your own methods because there can be serious legal repercussions. Stick to the steps below so that you don’t lose control over the situation and have your actions backfire on you.

 

  1. Determine if there are grounds for eviction. The first step is to decide if you can even evict a tenant legally. Using the previous list, you may be able to identify certain conditions that warrant an eviction. However, be aware that you will need to provide proof of such behavior.
  2. Become familiar with the Landlord and Tenant Act. Right from the start we said you want to avoid having anything backfire on you. The best way to ensure this is to follow legal regulations regarding the eviction process. Make sure to follow each step by the book – do not underestimate this.
  3. Give the tenant notice of eviction. Unfortunately, you can’t just go in their unit and remove all of their furniture on a whim. You will need to provide the tenant with notice so they can get their affairs in order. In this notice you will want to include the date, a deadline for correcting the behavior and the date that you will actually file for the eviction.
  4. Time to file the eviction. If corrective measures have not been taken by the tenant, then you can go ahead and file for eviction. This puts the legal process in motion. It will require a fee and some paperwork to get started, but you will then receive a hearing date. The court will notify the tenant.
  5. Conduct the court hearing. Remember when we said you will need to provide proof of the unruly behavior? Well, this is where it happens. You will need to make a solid case as to why the tenant should be evicted and demonstrate that the rules are being broken. The tenant will also have an opportunity to make their case, so be prepared. Ultimately, it comes down to the judge’s decision as to whether the tenant is evicted or may continue residing in the unit.
  6. Time to evict the tenant. Assuming you win the case, you can go ahead and evict the tenant. Generally, the tenant will have a specific time period to leave the premises. However, if the tenant does not leave then you will want to turn to the local authority for assistance.

 

Let’s hope that you never have to deal with a situation like this. But in the case you do, be sure to follow these steps and avoid trying to evict the tenant through alternative means at all costs. The last thing you want is for the tenant to turn around and sue you for trying to do so. Being a landlord is no easy job, so be sure to learn all the ways Rich Dad Education can help you reach your goals.

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