Tenant evictions are a high-stress situation for both parties involved. As the landlord, you need to protect your investment and use the proper method for terminating the lease agreement and removing the tenant from your property. Therefore, you need to handle the eviction process appropriately and legally to avoid further tenant problems down the road.
Regardless of the state a landlord’s property is located, there are typically three initial steps all landlords must take in order to successfully evict a tenant from their property:
- Give the tenant a written notification to pay rent or vacate the premises.
- Give the tenant an Unconditional notification.
- File a suit with the courts to finalize the eviction and pay any necessary court fees.
Handling the Property in Court
When you file your suit with the courts, you will be given a date to appear in court. When you arrive, make sure to bring:
- Rental agreements
- Lease agreements
- Pet agreements
- Inventory checklists
- Correspondence between you and the tenant
- Collection records
- Photos, videos or other forms of evidence to back your eviction action
You will have to state your case to a judge proving to them that the tenant deserves an eviction. Keep in mind that the tenant will also appear in court to defend their own case as to why they should not be evicted. Therefore, keep your demeanor professional and be organized.
Things Not to Do
It is important to know how to handle an eviction as well as what not to do during the eviction process. When you are in the process of or planning to evict a tenant, never:
- Turn off utilities
- Change locks
- Remove tenant’s property from the premises
- Threaten or intimidate tenant
- Make excessive noise
- Harm tenants or their pets
By acting unlawfully toward the tenant, you will become the target of the courts – not the tenant. You could face fines, penalties and, in some cases, jail time for extreme behavior.