As a landlord, you likely hope that you never have to evict a tenant. Yet, that is the nature of the business and there may well come a time when it becomes necessary to do so. Even so, the process of evicting a tenant can be expensive and time-consuming. Tenants can be affected negatively by an eviction as well, including interfering with their ability to rent another property in the future.
Whenever possible, it is always best to try to prevent evictions. Taking proactive steps before the situation reaches the point of eviction can save you and your tenant a tremendous amount of hassles and expense. In the event that the tenant attempts to fight the eviction notice, the process can become even lengthier and more expensive. When a tenant decides to fight an eviction, this can result in significant legal fees. Other expenses you may face in the event of an eviction include the costs associated with repairs and cleaning after the eviction. Even the security deposit may not be enough to cover all of the relevant legal fees, cleaning costs, and repair expenses.
Even if you win and are able to remove the tenant, there are certain regulations that must be followed based on state and local law. For instance, in most areas, local law enforcement will be tasked with providing the tenant with a legal notice. At that point, the tenant will be given a period of several days in which to prepare to leave. If the tenant still does not leave the property, law enforcement will need to remove him/her from the property.
If the situation does reach the point where you feel as though you have no other recourse but to evict a tenant, it should be kept in mind that landlords are typically required by state law to follow strict requirements regarding the eviction process.
One of the best ways to avoid a potential eviction down the road is to take the time to properly prescreen prospective tenants. Many times, landlords may feel pressured to fill a vacant unit quickly to avoid missing a month of rent. While this may make sense in the short-term, not prescreening tenants can create problems in the long-term and actually cost more than a missed month of rent. Additionally, it is important to ensure that your lease is ironclad so that it cannot be contested if you do find it necessary to evict a tenant for breaking the terms of the lease. If you have any questions about your lease, have it reviewed by an attorney.
Finally, make certain that you are diligent regarding rental due dates. It can be easy to let a tenant slide regarding the rental due date, especially when they appear to have good reason, but this can create a precedence that tenants can easily take advantage of. Furthermore, if you allow some tenants to slide on the due date but not others, this could create a sense of discrimination and create legal troubles.