Need to evict tenants in my rental properties not paying rent

Eviction of tenants from rental property

Even the best landlords may fail to establish a good relationship with their tenants. In fact, if you own rental property it's likely you will eventually have to have a tenant evicted from your property. Given the high unemployment rate and struggling economy, many tenants may want to pay their rent but simply are unable. So what do you do if you need to evict a rental tenant? First, you will need to make sure you follow the correct legal steps.

Determine if you have the legal right to evict

Not liking a tenant is not enough to legally evict them from your property. Several valid reasons to evict a tenant include:

1. Proving the tenant broke a term of the lease. For instance they have pets on the property which are not allowed per the lease, they have sublet the property without your consent or they are violating the noise restrictions for the neighborhood.
2. They have remained in your rental home past the terms of the lease.
3. They have physically damaged the property.

Consider also, some states may require that you provide written notice to the tenant for some infractions prior to eviction. You also need to review the Landlord and Tenant Act for your state and make sure you follow each step. Copies of the Landlord and Tenant Act can be requested from your state attorney general's website.

Be sure to give written notice prior to eviction

After determining whether your reason for eviction is legal you will need to give your tenant written notice prior to the eviction. The notice should clearly outline your intent to evict the tenant. Some states, as mentioned above, may require that you give the tenant time to correct the problem. Deliver the notice by hand.

If you have legal standing, you have hand served them with the eviction notice, and you have given them time to correct the problem, you are now ready to start the eviction process. Go to the appropriate local courthouse, pay the appropriate fees and complete the paperwork. The clerk will set an eviction hearing date and notify the tenant.

Gather evidence for your eviction hearing

Finally, you will need to gather evidence for your hearing. Evidence includes the lease agreement, a copy of the written notice, and bank statements. Both you and the tenant will have a chance to plead your case.

If the judge rules in your favor the tenant will be required to leave the property, in some cases they may have as little as 48 hours. If they fail to leave, the sheriff will accompany you to your house to force them out. If the tenant decides to damage your property you will need to document all damages. You may have the legal right to sue them for major claims in civil court.

What if you don't have money to evict?

In some states the fee to evict is as little as $100 to $200. If you don't have the money to evict - get it. Attempting to evict a tenant without following the right legal process could give the tenant the legal right to sue you. Actions which are illegal can include changing the tenant's locks, removing their property, or shutting off their utilities.

Evict a tenant on your own and you could find yourself in serious legal trouble. Pay the money and take them to court.

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