It’s the darker side of a landlord’s job.
And while using OnTAP will reduce the risk of an eviction (significantly!) it’s still a possibility that you need to plan for ahead of time. After all, anything you’re prepared for loses a bit of its scariness.
As with almost anything, it’s easier to just jump in the pool instead of testing it with one toe.
So let’s dive in.
Document all aspects of a tenancy so that if it should come to eviction, you can prove the case against the tenant. Keep receipts of damages, lease agreements, bank statements of missing rent payments or bounced checks, and your written Notice to Vacate letter (see below). Also try to keep records of all communication, whether it was by email, text, etc. A judge is more likely to rule in your favor if you’ve brought these materials with you.
The eviction process has very specific steps, some of which vary by city and state. This is a basic outline, but check the laws in your area to make sure. Failure to complete any step could cause you to lose the case.
- Send a Notice to Vacate letter, preferably by certified mail. In this letter, tell your tenant that you’re giving them 30 days to correct their violation. If the problem is a large one, give them a date by which you expect to receive a response. It is required that you give your tenant enough time to correct the action before filing an eviction.
- If the allotted time has passed and the problem hasn’t been rectified, you must file the eviction at your local courthouse. At this time you’ll be given a hearing date and the court will contact your tenant for you, informing them of this date.
- If the hearing goes in your favor, the tenant will have a certain amount of time to leave the rental property. The length of this period varies by state. If they’re not out by the given date, you must go to the house with a sheriff who will remove the tenant and their belongings. If this occurs, make sure you take a camera to document any damages to the property which may necessitate further legal action.
No matter how frustrated you are, you must follow the laws in your area. Trying to evict a tenant yourself by shutting off the utilities, changing the locks, etc. is always a bad idea that will lead to you losing the case and possibly being prosecuted.
Remember that even small landlords must run their business like a business. This means exceptions are off limits. If you change the rules for one tenant and not for another, you could get accused of discrimination. Always stick to the standards you’ve put in place.
I know this hasn’t been a very fun article to read, but unfortunately it’s often prudent to prepare for the worst. Your best option is to start using OnTAP from the very beginning, therefore drastically decreasing your chances of having to take this kind of action.