Every property owner’s worst nightmare is a tenant who doesn’t pay their rent. What should you do and where should you turn for help evicting a tenant?
To be sure, eviction can be a long, expensive, arduous process. Using a property management company can lessen the pain of this chore greatly.
How to Start Eviction Proceedings
The first step a property owner should take when a tenant misses a rent payment is to contact them and try to get them to pay. Maybe they just need some time.
Negotiating, however, can be a slippery slope. If you allow them to pay late one month, they may want to pay late every month.
This is why it’s important to include in your rental contract a clause regarding fees for late payments. If a tenant suffers some type of setback — say an expensive car repair — that impacts their ability to pay the rent on time, you may allow them to pay late, but they must pay a fee.
With a fee in place, your tenants will be motivated to pay on time, to avoid this surcharge.
It’s when tenants miss more than two payments that the situation become serious. You are in danger of losing a lot of revenue, since even successful evictions can sometimes take months.
Convoluted Landlord-Tenant Laws
When you start eviction proceedings, you must be familiar with the laws in your state. These can be complex, so it’s important to have a full understanding of them to avoid violating the law in the process.
For instance, in some states, a tenant is within their rights to withhold payment if the premises are not up to code. This could include problems such as lack of a working smoke detector, the presence of mold or vermin, or the absence of proper ventilation in the bathroom.
If you need to go to court and the tenant can prove such violations, you may not be able to collect back rent.
How to Send an Eviction Notice
If you are sure your property is up to code and your tenant has not been able to pay rent, you are within your rights to send them an eviction notice.
It is best to include certain information in the notice, such as how much money they owe and how long they have to vacate the premises. You must send this notice (preferably via certified mail) a fixed number of days before you file with the court, depending on your local jurisdiction.
Once you file with the court and pay the filing fee, the court will set a hearing date and send the tenant a summons. On the day of the hearing, you will have to bring documentation to the court to show the tenant has neither paid nor moved out, including a copy of the lease agreement, proof that you gave proper notice to the tenant, etc.
If you are missing any of this paperwork, you are in danger of seeing your case dismissed or having the hearing rescheduled, both of which will cost you more time and money.
Do You Need Help Evicting a Tenant?
That’s why it’s better to rely on a trusted property management firm such as SLC Property Management. We have overseen dozens of evictions, and we know how to get through the process as quickly as possible, so you can get a paying tenant into your property.
Contact SLC Property Management today for help evicting a tenant.