What to Do When Eviction Occurs

by : Kevin Kiene

Eviction is one of the biggest nightmares of being a Landlord. The court proceedings can be time consuming, and expensive, and are best evaded if there is any reasonable solution. If a tenant has violated their lease agreement, it's imperative for the landlord to take all measures available in order to minimize any loss.

Still, conditions can warrant eviction and are not always cut-and-dry. It can often be tough to determine the proper time to start eviction action. Use the checklist below to assist you to make the best determination.

&bull Do circumstances deserve eviction based on the guidelines specified in the lease? Make sure the language in your lease agreement will be in compliance with the guidelines you and the tenant have agreed upon. If there is an inconsistency, an eviction may be disputed in court. When unsure, it may be best to seek advice from an attorney.

&bull Do circumstances deserve eviction based on local, state, and federal laws? There are very specific regulations specifying why, when, and how a tenant can be evicted which may differ depending on the location. In order to control errors and protect your assets, it is important to ensure that you are in compliance with the federal, state and local statutes before moving forward with the eviction process. In order to make certain your rights are protected, be sure to check with an attorney who specializes in Landlord/Tenant laws in your area.

&bull What is the severity of arrearages or is the tenant habitually late? It is important to weigh the cost of court ordered eviction to the outcome. When a tenant is two or more months behind in rent payments and has made no viable attempt to get caught up, then the situation warrants court intervention. If you can prove that the tenant has been chronically late with rent payments, your chance of a successful eviction claim will be increased significantly. On the other hand, if a tenant is only a few days late, and usually pays rent on time, court proceedings may be harsh in this circumstance. It may be wiser to initiate collection by issuing late notices, emails and phone contact.

&bull Has the tenant violated another term of the lease agreement? Although, non-payment of rent is the most common reason for eviction, there are other instances where it may be necessary. Examples of such circumstances that are commonly referred to in eviction cases include: keeping an unauthorized pet on the premises, subletting the property or allowing another tenant to move in without prior approval, submitting false information on the rental application or lease agreement, grossly deficient housekeeping, inflicting negligent damage on the property, participating in unsafe or illegal activities on the premises, or committing frequent nuisance violations.

&bull Is it unlikely that the tenant will modify their behavior? It may be difficult to prove violations of a Lease other than for non-payment of rent. Keeping a log of events and communication in addition to possessing a paper trail of documents demonstrating the wrong-doing is imperative in creating a case against your tenant. If the tenant continues to violate the Lease, eviction proceedings are probably deserved.

&bull Does the tenant pose an imminent and continuing danger to the property, the neighborhood, or the community? If the situation is becoming out of control, initiating an eviction may be your best bet. A quick response to a dangerous situation may be pertinent in gaining possession of your property to ensure prevention of damage, injury and possible financial hardship.

Choosing to move forward with an eviction is never an easy decision to make. While it's important to be flexible if the tenant has made a decent effort to cooperate with you to solve the problem, it is also important to remember that your property is a business investment. No landlord should commit indefinitely to a situation that may prove to be costly. When a tenant refuses to honor the obligation he agreed to when entering into the lease agreement, an eviction proceeding is most likely the quickest way to end an ill-fated situation. Cut your losses and consider it as a learning experience, and move forward.