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When The Only Word Left To Say Is Eviction - Know How To Use It!

For many landlords, there will come a day when the only word left to say to a tenant is "eviction". 

As a private landlord, you probably think you have the "right" to do whatever you want to get rid of a tenant.  But the truth is - you don't.  And worse, if it has gotten to a point of eviction - trust me - your tenant has been brushing up on the eviction laws and is ready for you!

Each state has very specific laws about evicting tenants - and you have to follow them - regardless of what you think, feel or disagree with.  I have two suggestions:  either hire a property manager who knows the laws -- or get very familiar with laws in your state beginning today!

Here are some things that you will want to do but can't!  You can't:

  • Turn off the utilities.
  • Change the locks.
  • Threaten tenants - verbally, in writing or otherwise.
  • Call the police - it won't help - the law is not on your side on this one.
  • Have the tenants cars towed off the property.
  • Remove all the tenants belongings and leave it on the front yard with a note - this is called "self-eviction" and it's against the law.

Here is what I start with - and you can too!  If I haven't heard from a tenant in any way shape or form to let me know rent will be late - on the 1st day the rent is late - the tenant is served with an eviction notice.  The quicker you do this - the easier and faster the process will be toward legally and effectively removing the tenant.

More often than not, you will hear from the tenant once the notice is served.  If you do - make it your goal to work something out with the tenant because it's much easier than eviction.  If you don't hear from the tenant - make sure you follow all the steps and most importantly, stay legal and be patient!

Buying or selling Tucson real estate, Mt Lemmon, Tucson bank-owned homes, Tucson rental homes, or Tucson lease option homes? Visit www.KGCPropertiesLLC.com .

                                                 

 

This blog is written with my opinions and my opinions are  presented with accuracy but not guarantees. Please talk to a professional before making any real estate, financial or agency decisions.    Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind - 2014. If you want to reprint parts of this - just email me for my permission: KGCProperties@gmail.com .

 

Comment balloon 37 commentsGabrielle Kamahele Rhind • April 27 2011 03:27PM

Comments

I think property management is one hard job - and this aspect of it must be heart wrenching as well.

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Hi Gabrielle,

Like everything else we've learned, we have to stay professional and always follow the law. This is no place for emotions. Great post!

Posted by John McCarthy, Realtor - Seacoast NH (Bean Group Portsmouth NH) over 7 years ago

I've owned properties in SC, NC, FL, AL, AZ and TN. I've only evicted 2 tenant in 10 years.  I find it easier to offer to pay them to leave.  I'd rather pay the tenants $100-250 to leave and make sure the place is clean.  They move out and don't ruin the place even worse.  

Just a thought.

Greg J. Gardner

Posted by Greg Gardner (Blithernet Online Classifieds) over 7 years ago

By the way ... my post about paying tenants to leave ... that's not legal in every state.  Check your laws before "bribing your tenant" to leave your house.

Greg J. Gardner 

Posted by Greg Gardner (Blithernet Online Classifieds) over 7 years ago

Easier said than done! San Francisco has rent control, the Rent Board and huge tenant's rights. It can take 90 days or more to evict for non payment, and you really want to use an attorney. Even for owner move in evictions you have to pay each tenant $5100, Another $3000 for each disabled or elderly tenant, and you Need to have an attorney.

Posted by John M. Scott, Broker / Owner San Francisco Bay Area (BRE # 01442690, Scott Keys Properties) over 7 years ago

HI JOHN!  Eviction is not easy at all!  But it's easier if you know what you can do and how to do it!  What does an owner have to pay the tenant for - just curious!  Those are some strict laws!

HI GREG!  Working something out that is legal with tenants is always the best way to go! 

HI JOHN!  Agreed - and emotion has to be removed from evictions.  Sometimes it's tough but as long as one stays professional and legal - it helps!

HI MARGARET!  It's always difficult when a tenant cannot or will not pay rent.  But I also find that they know they can't live somewhere for free either - somewhere in between that - there is room to negotiate!  Thanks for your comment!

Posted by Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind, Broker/Owner (KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Good advice on something I do not have very much experience with. Thanks for the post and providing this information.

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) over 7 years ago

I hired a property manager about 2 years ago to be a part of our brokerage (she already had her own company with about 50+ properties). I would never want to do her job! LOL - It's not fun dealing with the laws as well as tenants who don't like to pay on time for so little money. 

Posted by Lisa Udy, Logan Utah Realtor ( Platinum Real Estate Group) over 7 years ago

Gabrielle,

Had an appointment on Saturday to show a tenant-occupied home. The lockbox wasn't there and the list agent was an out-of-area one.  He swore the owners had put on the lockbox.  Turns out they had, but changed all the knobs on Thursday to evict the tenant.  Those owners should have read your fine post 'cause they may be in hot water!

Posted by Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ (Weichert) over 7 years ago

Hi Gabrielle - All great advice, and those rules are true everywhere. Since I did many evictions as an attorney and as a property manager through the years, I can add that landlords should NOT get advice about the exact procedures to follow from anyone not qualified. 

For one thing, each state has its own laws and procedures.  Then each county may have its own forms which must be used.  Also, the forms, rules and procedures change constantly, so the well-meaning but inexperienced advice-givers may cause you more problems and waste your time and money.

Posted by Susan Neal, Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks) over 7 years ago

Great advice, Gabrielle. I started in real estate as a property management company.  The law is definitely in favor of the tenant, and the sooner you lawfully strike the sooner the tenant will be out.  The only time I've ever had a problem was when the actual owner got involved.  That added 3 months to the eviction process.  Mercy!  Thanks for posting.

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 7 years ago

Wow.. 1st day and stick an eviction notice on the door? That's harsh, but understandable.

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) over 7 years ago

You can't be a friend of the tenant either.  Give them a little extra time to get the rent in, etc.  Action quick as you stated is always the best tool to protect your owner.  Congrats for the gold star!

Posted by Connie Goodrich, CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas (Keller Williams Realty) over 7 years ago

Great post for new Landlords or the "accidental Landlord"

Posted by Coady Cline (Re/Max Signature Properties) over 7 years ago

THanks for the good read today.  I enjoyed the read.  

 

Patricia/SEacoast NH & ME

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 7 years ago

HI GABRIELLE! I've never rented more then one property at a time as I found that was enough stress. I enjoyed the post and wanted more when I hit the end.

Posted by Bob "RealMan" Timm, Bob Timm, Project Coordinator for Tivoli Homes (Tivoli Custom Homes) over 7 years ago

Thanks for the advice. We had a situation once where we had to get an attorney and lots of manuvering later, the tenant was evicted. Then we had some fairly big expenses to fix the damage. It's a headache.

Gretchen

Posted by Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate, Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs (Kelly Right Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Great advice and thanks for posting. It's true the law is on the side of tenants and laws vary from state to state.  I can't imagine an owner changing the locks on a tenant who hasn't paid rent. Wow...

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 7 years ago

Hi Gabrielle - I think I've told you before, but we own and rent out residential property and have experienced many nightmares - that why we have good lawyers. ONe our tenants put a garbage bag on top of the stove which was still hot and burned down most of the house! Congrats on the feature!

Posted by Kristine Ginsberg, NJ Home Stager (Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC) over 7 years ago

Teddy used to say "speak softly and carry a big stick."  I'd say that works, or you could always support your local red & white in Tucson.  I'd rely on them for an effective eviction before the law any day.

Cheers, A.

Posted by Anthony Daniels, SF Bay Area REO Specialist (Coldwell Banker) over 7 years ago

Even long term tenants who pay on time can be a major problem if you don't check out the place periodically. They can do lots of damage that's not visible from the outside.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) over 7 years ago

I don't know if I would go the eviction notice on the first being late, but I do agree the sooner the better if it looks like a bad pattern.  Here in California tenants know they can drag the process to six months.

Posted by Ronald DiLalla, No. Orange Cty Real Estate (Century 21 Discovery DRE 01813824) over 7 years ago

Wasn't there a movie landlord/tenant movie, pacific heights or something like that.  A must watch flick for the new landlord.

So many fond landlord memories, the days in housing court, the visits from the board of health, the barter offers in exchange for rent, and the dramatic threatening conversations.

Great advice Gabrielle.  Know the eviction process in your city/town.

Posted by Jim Mushinsky (Centsable Inspection) over 7 years ago

This is good advice for landlords. I always suggest they talk to an attorney .

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 7 years ago

The list of things you want to do is so tantalizing to do because evicting a tenant is never fun.  Understanding the process and how to go about it as quickly as possibly is going to take a little bit of experience but its so important.

Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Throwing their stuff on the lawn sounds like it is going to be satisfying but that is surely going to create a war between you and the tenant at that point. 

Posted by Morgan Evans, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 7 years ago

HI RONALD!  Let me clarify that notice a little bit - there is a grace period for when rent is due. I start calling to if I don't receive the payment but also, my tenants know to call me if their rent will be late.  If, during that grace period, I do not hear anything and tenants don't respond to any calls - I send the notice on the first day late fees start. So they do have plenty of time before the rent is considered late to call me.  Of course, there are extenuating circumstances that may prevent a call back, but for the most part this works.  Thank you for mentioning this!  And agreed - the tenants here in Tucson know too how long they can drag out an eviction!

HI EILEEN! No it's never fun - for many reasons and like you wrote - just understanding the process helps.

HI GITA! You are welcome - and legal advice is always sound!

HI JIM! I think there was!  You made me laugh!

HI HELLA! Very true - it's important to regularly check on properties.

HI ANTHONY!  Teddy's words are very true!

HI KRISTINE! Congrats on your feature too - I am still laughing about it!  And don't tenants just do the most "didn't think" things??!!  Do you just have one rental or a couple?  I bet we would enjoy telling our stories!

HI PAMELA!  People will do the craziest things when it comes to wanting to get their money! 

HI MEL & GRETCHEN! Sorry to hear that - usually evictions come with damages which is unfortunate!

Posted by Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind, Broker/Owner (KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Communication is key. If they've been good tenants, it doesn't make any sense to serve them with eviction notice on day one or even week one. If something has changed in their life where they will no longer be able to afford the rent amount, you have options that might work out better for both. ( possibly lower monthly rent until they can recover, let them skip a month and make it up later, help them find another place they can afford before the situation gets too far out of control, release them from the lease, and yes, even return their security deposit if they haven't done any damage, etc.) Of course, if the tenants just want to be difficult and have indicated they are not going to try to work something out with landlard, then the eviction process might be best. Procedures vary county to county.

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) over 7 years ago

I was a landlord at one point (renting out a single family home) and my tenants stopped paying rent; I sent them notice that they needed to pay by such & such a date with fines, but no payment.  As I was getting prepared for the next step (leading to eviction) they disappeared in the middle of the night, leaving a mess and unpaid bills.  I sold the place - at that time in my life, it was much too difficult and since that was the FIRST tenant, I figured they might all be like that!  It's good to hear that this isn't the case, and that there are swifter ways to deal with delinquent tenants.

Thanks for posting!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) over 7 years ago

HI JEFF!  Agreed - I clarified above to Ronald that I serve the eviction notice if there is no communication.  Good tenants will communicate and say what the issue is so there is never a need for the harsh notice because you can talk and work something out like you wrote.  When there is no communication - and no effort from the tenant to give me a call - I serve it.  This post is more about those tenants that get a landlord to the point of getting served with eviction - and in all cases - it's to that point because there was no communication from the start!  Thank you for bringing it up!

HI GREG NINO!  I'll just say - please read what I wrote to Jeff!  When it comes to other people's money and their asset - I don't mess around - it does sound harsh - but I only do this when I have exhausted options and given it time!  (And by the way- I like your fun new profile photo!)

HI MORGAN!  It would be fun to throw their stuff out - but like you said - it just makes things worse!

HI BOB!  You seem to have a personality that could do property management well!  What was your biggest stress?  And thank you!!

HI CONNIE!  That's a very good point -- my own personal tenants often ask me to come over for BBQs or birthday parties and as much as I like some - I just don't.  And often thy take it personal.  But you are very right - you can't be their friend -- that's as bad as renting to a relative!

HI MIKE!  Ha ha ha - I know owners mean well - but it can be trying when they get involved and like in your case - drags it out longer than it needs to be!

Posted by Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind, Broker/Owner (KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Very good advice Gabrielle.  There are many "accidental" landlords out there these days who thought they were choosing a great route to getting some cash flow on the property that they were unable to sell.

Little did they expect the tenant to be trashing their home, sabotaging the owner's attempt to sell it and then making it very difficult to remove them....all the while watching their property decresase in value. 

This is not always the case, but being a landlord is not for the faint of heart.

Posted by Howard and Susan Meyers (The Hudson Company Winnetka and North Shore) over 7 years ago

On renting...I listen and examine every potential renter circumstance. I do not want their problems to become mine however. I actually want to solve my client's (the landlord) problem of a vacancy, and then help everyone else if I can. Here, in my neck of the woods, it takes several months to evict. Knowing that, extra effort and deposits may kick in on questionable situations. The economy does not help this subject along as everyone has issues that disqualify or minimize...Rentals are a lot of work now a days

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 7 years ago

Hi Gabrielle, renters seem to have more rights than landlords. If you are a landlord, its good to be on top of the local laws. 

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 7 years ago

Eviction is difficult. Once someone is in the house is is so hard and long to get them out if they fight you.

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) over 7 years ago

Still amazing as to what people think they can do. after all they own it. My tenants pay the rent on time and get a taret csrd for $50 every 6 months. Now we are dealing with so many renters that have never rented before.

Posted by Jack O'Neal (Conway Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Gabrielle,

Congrats on the well-deserved Gold Star! It is a great post that we all learned from.

Posted by John McCarthy, Realtor - Seacoast NH (Bean Group Portsmouth NH) over 7 years ago

Gabrielle, my biggest stress was renters who were slobs and didn't care how the property looked. I'd rather have renters who were regularly late in paying then those who let the property look like I was a slum lord.

Posted by Bob "RealMan" Timm, Bob Timm, Project Coordinator for Tivoli Homes (Tivoli Custom Homes) over 7 years ago

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