Evictions can be emotionally-charged times for both the tenant and the landlord. It’s important for the landlord to stay calm and follow the local and state laws every step of the way. If you have a tenant that violated their lease (by not paying rent or breaking a specific rule laid out in a section of their lease), eviction may be necessary. If you’re just starting down the path of evicting your tenant, check out this article. It’s a high level overview of how to evict.
But going forward, we’re going to discuss some things you should do and you shouldn’t do as you evict your tenant. Make sure to do things ‘by the book’ or it might come back to hurt you!
Absolutely Don’t Do This
Taking matters into your own hands during any part of the eviction process can get you into huge legal trouble. Even if you do most of the eviction properly, certain “self-help” methods will force the judge to rule in favor of the tenant. The judge may even make this ruling regardless of how well you prove yourself to be correct for evicting your tenant. During every point of the eviction process, it’s vital to remember you CANNOT legally:
- Change the locks on the residence or add additional locks to prevent the tenant from entering or exiting.
- Shut off utilities for the dwelling. (Aside from being illegal, this can also expose you to potential law suits if the tenant is harmed as a result of your actions.)
- Forcibly remove your tenants or intimidate them verbally or physically. This is considered harassment and turn a bad situation into a terrible situation.
- Remove their possessions from your property. Just because their belongings are inside the property you own, it does not make the belongings themselves yours. Do not try to alter them or relocate them in anyway!
As frustrating as it may be when a tenant refuses to follow court orders, taking matters into your own hands WILL make the situation worse for you!
Communication Dos and Don’ts
Long story short, you should avoid verbal communication with the tenant if at all possible. Write all your communication in a concise and professional way, with no emotional flair. Ten times out of ten, adding emotional wording does nothing but make you feel better momentarily for venting your annoyances. However, in the long run, it can exacerbate an already hostile situation.
Communicating solely through writing also protects you legally. You’ll be able to show the court or police how frequently you attempted to make contact with your tenant. This will also help you prove what was said each time. Corresponding through certified letters is a GREAT way to also prove your messages were received by the other party.
If your tenants lost the court hearing and refuse to leave the property within the allotted timeframe, call your local sheriff’s office. Provide them a copy of the court-issued paperwork and let them legally remove the tenant from your property. Without the eviction paperwork from the court, your local authorities will not be able to help you. As we said before, it’s important to follow the legal steps for your specific state!
Get Rid of the Burden?
If you feel overwhelmed by managing your tenant(s), or this eviction process, you can also sell the burden to someone else! What a concept! We regularly buy properties from individuals in tough situations. If you’d prefer to sell rather than deal any more with the problem, click the green box to the right and we’ll reach out to you soon!
Please keep in mind that our website content is designed solely for informational purposes and does not serve as legal advice for any particular situation.