What Is the Correct Way to Evict a Tenant?

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on March 17, 2014

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Why read this article anyway? It shouldn’t be much of a stretch to evict a tenant who definitely deserves it legally, right? The fact is this, though – if you’re not doing it right, karma can come back and bite you, especially legally. As a landlord, you for sure want to be within guidelines. Tenants do have rights as well, and if you break them, you’ll be facing your own personal eviction as well.eviction notice

Consider why you’re evicting the particular tenant in the first place. If you’re evicting the tenant because the tenant’s just plain annoying, stop. That’s no legal reason to evict. Common reasons for eviction include non-payment of rent as well as any violations on the lease. If they’re, for instance, bringing pets into their units – and your leases specifically say “no pets” – you better believe that you have every right to evict. Additionally, all sorts of illegal activities, such as drug deals and usage, are grounds for eviction. You need the evidence, though, for sure. If you know the smell, however, and you’re inclined to take some pictures, you might have a case in the matter.

More importantly, though, you have to give appropriate notice to the tenant before you actually evict. It’s called an eviction notice. It’s the letter stating that you’re “going to evict if [insert requirements] aren’t satisfied.” Consider it a warning. If the tenant satisfies such requirements, that tenant has successfully avoided eviction. You will have two types of notices to give, too: for cause evictions and without cause evictions. Often the latter’s associated with illegal activity whereas the former involves specific lease violations, such as nonpayment of rent.

Don’t be surprised, though, if particular bad tenants don’t bother to heed your warning. Be prepared to pursue legal action. Your eviction notice is proof that you followed due diligence. You can’t simply go to court expecting that the judge will follow your reasoning without the documentation to back it up.  That’s all about protocol. Be professional. If there’s anything about real estate law that is a constant, it’s that!

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