Whether you’re the landowner or the tenant, eviction is a difficult process for everyone involved. There are multiple reasons why a landowner may evict somebody, including agreement violations, disturbances, or more commonly, the inability to make payments. However, this doesn’t mean that a landowner can just kick somebody out. For a better idea of handling an evicted tenant, here are some of the things you need to know.
Don’t Remove the Tenant Yourself
If you’re a landowner, bear in mind that there is a legal process when evicting a tenant. There are laws on landowner-tenant relationships you need to follow in order to legitimately remove a tenant from your property. For example, you can’t:
- Physically remove the tenant to leave the home
- Cut off their utilities to force them out
- Blackmail them into leaving the property
All of these are illegal and will affect your business negatively. It may even open you up to a lawsuit and make things more difficult for you down the line. To ensure a safe housing business, stick to the law and follow through with the legal and proper process of evicting a tenant.
Read Up on Local and State Laws
The laws on landowner-tenant relationships can vary from state to state. Hence, it’s essential to learn about the laws that apply to you and your area. Eviction notice guidelines, how to acquire a writ of possession, and where to go for requirements are only some of the things you need to know to follow through the process. Due to the legal implications, this is why hiring eviction movers is the way to go if you need to transfer the belongings of evicted tenants.
During this time, look for a reliable lawyer specializing in property management, whom you can consult or hire if you bring things to court. The lawyer can offer you guidance and help you navigate the long and often time-consuming eviction process. With their help, you will learn about all the relevant laws and guidelines and avoid consuming more of your time and money.
Identify the Cause of Why They Wouldn’t Leave
Before getting the court involved, make sure to talk with them in person first about why they won’t leave. After all, you don’t want to go to court over an issue that could have been resolved by an honest conversation. If you think that their motivation is reasonable, like lacking funds or having nowhere else to go, find a way to help them first.
You can help them look for rentals or connect them to a relative where they can stay first. You can also help them look for reliable eviction moving services who can store their items first in a safe place until they find a place of their own. In this manner, you avoid the long process of going through the court system and potentially even save more money down the line.
What Do You Do When…
When a conversation leads you nowhere, it’s time to get the local courthouse involved.
The Tenant Won’t Leave Even After Receiving a Notice?
Landlords are mandated by law to first send out an eviction notice to the tenant. Depending on where your property is, the minimum number of days to send the notice before the eviction date can vary.
If they insist on staying despite the notice, here are the things that you do:
- Go to the local court and file for eviction.
- Gather the evidence that your tenant is violating the rules of your property (e.g. contract, testimonies, etc.)
- Attend the court hearing to state your case.
- If the court ruling favors you, acquire a writ of possession with the judge’s permission.
- Head to the local sheriff with the writ of possession and have them remove the tenant from the property.
The same process applies if the tenant outright ignores the end of the lease per the guidelines stated in your contract.
The Tenant Challenges the Eviction Notice?
If the tenant decides to challenge the notice, both of you will go to court and file for an eviction hearing. During the court hearing, both of you will state your case where an impartial judge will decide which side is right.
The Tenant Disputes the Court Ruling?
Even if you did manage to win the court hearing, a tenant might sometimes still challenge the results. Unfortunately, during this time, most state laws allow the tenant to remain on the property until the hearings are complete. In this scenario, you often have no choice but to wait out the court system.
If you win the case again, however, you can file for damages caused by the additional delay of the hearings. In this manner, you can get some settlement for the amount of time you weren’t able to take charge of the property.
The Tenant Outright Ignores the Court Ruling?
If the tenant ignores the court ruling, secure a writ of possession and head to the local sheriff or constable. The writ of possession is proof that you are the proper owner of the property and have the right to control what happens on said property. Show the document to the authorities and have them escort the tenant out of the premises.
With the tenant removed, you can’t dispose of the tenant’s belongings. Have professional eviction movers transfer them to another area where the tenant can access them at a later date.
The Tenant Received a “Stay”?
In some cases, the court may rule in your favor but still grant your tenants a “stay.” It simply means that the tenants can stay on the property depending on the amount of time given by the judge. A “stay” is often granted to individuals who may need more time or extra help, such as the elderly, families with kids, and people with disabilities.
This scenario doesn’t afford you much leeway. Nonetheless, you now have a definite timeline to work with and may have them evicted by the new given deadline.
Overall, there is no cookie-cutter approach to having a tenant evicted. It depends on the local laws, your and the tenant’s circumstances, and the local court system. The important thing is to do the process legally and help the other person when their reason is justifiable. Some people are simply struggling through something, and instead of judging them with the mighty fist of the law, it’s more effective to extend a helping hand.