When beginning the eviction process, one of the first items on the agenda is to determine IF you can evict. While it’d be nice to rid yourself of some renters because you don’t get along with them or they’re a slob, there are laws that prevent this.
Some of the common reasons to evict a tenant are: if they cause major damage, violate noise restrictions, ignore no pet rules, use the property for illegal purposes, or continue to live at the property even though they’ve failed to pay rent.
Once you’ve determined that there’s legal foundation to proceed with the eviction, the next step is to carefully review your state’s adaptation of the Landlord and Tenant Act. And while it may be tempting to lock out or remove the tenant, take away essential appliances, or cut off their utilities, this is not allowed by law, and the renter would be acting within their rights to call the police.
If you think you’re heading down the eviction path, document everything. Many states require that you give the resident written notice before you formally begin the eviction process, so familiarize yourself with your state’s laws and act accordingly. If you are required to provide written notice, clearly state that it is your intent to evict the tenant, provide the reason for eviction, and give the date of delivery.
Once the waiting period (if any) required by your state is complete, head to the clerk of courts office to file your paperwork. When your court date rolls around, make sure you bring copies of all documentation concerning the renter: lease agreement, written warnings, payment history, including any returned checks, maintenance log, etc. You don’t want to miss anything or appear unprepared. Plan out what you’ll say, because both you and the renter will get a chance to plea your case to the judge. If the judge rules in your favor, the renter will have a set amount of time to vacate the property. This usually ranges between 48 hours to five days depending on the state.
If the tenant remains in the property past the allotted move-out time, don’t take matters into your own hands. Contact your local sheriff’s office. They’ll accompany you to the property to remove the tenant and their personal possessions. This is a prime opportunity to survey the property and account for any damage. Bring a camera and a notebook to record the details. If the tenant has caused major damage, head back to court and file a civil suit.