“The Usage Of Eviction Letter”
Are you having a problem with a tenant?
It’s not uncommon… in fact, I would say it is inevitable that you aren’t now that you eventually will. They could be paying rents late, underpaying or not paying their rent, constantly disturbing another tenant, or even worse… causing unexplained damages to your property.
As a property manager, you need to be prepared to get rid of or evict tenants when they become… undesirable. You can evict any tenant for cause, meaning they have not fulfilled their rental contract. You can also evict a tenant if you are made aware of any inappropriate behavior inside your property.
Note that unless they violate conditions on your lease (or local rental laws) you cannot evict… so make sure you are well versed with your lease and governing laws. But with that said…
Evicting a tenant is the most commonly used way to get rid of a bad tenant. However, if you can get rid of a tenant without the eviction process you will save money, resources and precious time in your property management business.
That’s why today I want to talk to you about the importance of an eviction letter and how to correctly evict a tenant without any infractions to the law.
NOTE: Be sure to consult an attorney to ensure you properly understand eviction law in your area.
What To Know About An Eviction Letter
As the property manager, you need to protect your property and tenants from undesirable renters. Any inappropriate behavior is dangerous to your business (and possibly to other tenants).
When you do have to evict a “bad” tenant you need to follow a legal and strict policy to evict them. Having an eviction process with eviction letters is the only way to legally follow the eviction process.
Before anything else, it is important to have a better understanding of the eviction process first.
Eviction is the process followed by the property manager for removing a specific tenant from a property. Depending on the laws of the jurisdiction, an eviction can also be called an unlawful detainer, summary possession, summary dispossess, summary process, forcible detainer, ejectment, and repossession. However, eviction is the common term that property managers are using.
In some states, the property manager must win an eviction lawsuit first before they can evict a tenant and that could take considerable time and resources to complete the eviction process through the courts.
What Is An Eviction Letter
Let’s start off with the definition of an eviction letter. Per Wikipedia, an eviction letter (or an eviction notice) is:
“Prior to filing a suit in court for eviction, generally the landlord must provide written notice to the tenant (commonly called a notice to quit or notice to vacate). A landlord may evict a tenant “without cause” (i.e., the landlord simply desires to end the landlord-tenant relationship without the tenant being in breach of the lease, such as when a lease is about to expire) or “for cause” (i.e., the tenant is in breach of the lease, such as non-payment of rent or allowing criminal activity to take place on the premises).
“The notice to vacate may either be conditional (i.e., the tenant may remain in the premises if certain actions are taken prior to the specified date, such as payment of rent and late fees due; this is sometimes known as cure or quit) or unconditional (i.e., the tenant can not do anything to avoid the eviction and must leave by a specified date, an example would be due to a tenant engaged in criminal activity).
“If the termination is without cause, the tenant is generally given a longer period of time (generally 30 days) to vacate than if the termination is for cause, in which case the tenant may have a short amount of time (perhaps as few as three days) in which to correct the violation. In some jurisdictions, landlords may not be able to terminate a lease without cause (such as in rent control jurisdictions). Where the law permits, a landlord, and tenant may agree to a different period of time for notice requirements than specified in the law.”
Uses Of An Eviction Letter
The eviction letter may not be a single letter. Depending on the state and local real estate laws the eviction letter could be a series of letters which complete the eviction process. In general, the eviction letter is not only used for the preliminary process of removing the tenant from the property. In fact, it can be used for different purposes. Here are the two additional uses of an eviction letter.
- As the property manager, you can use an eviction letter to terminate the contract of the tenant for renting your property.
- You can also use an eviction letter to tell the tenant to resolve any violations that they are doing while they are renting property.
Process Of Evicting A Tenant
You can’t just remove a tenant from your property by sending an eviction letter. You must have a court order first, sending an eviction letter and following the correct process for the eviction is just part of the process of the eviction.
First of all, the law in most states relays that you need a valid reason or eviction due to a cause which explains to the court why you need to evict a tenant. The eviction process is a legal action and you need permission from the authorities, to complete the process and to do that you must have a valid reason to evict the tenant.
Below are the most common reasons why a tenant is evicted.
- Failure to pay rent
- Too much damage to the property is made
- Violation of terms and agreement
- If drug or health and safety-related crimes are committed
- Violation of a legal requirement, such as building suitability or number of occupants
- Repeated disturbances and police reports concerning the tenant and the rental
Send An Eviction Letter
Sending an eviction letter is the first step in removing a tenant from your property. Although it is not required, It is my recommendation that you send notice of the pending eviction, 30 days before the eviction and your letter must include the reasons why you are evicting the tenant. This type of letter would be called the pre-eviction letter and you would want your lawyer or legal team to review it to make sure you’re not violating anything when sending it to the tenant.
In some cases, the actual eviction letter is used as notice to require the tenant to resolve the reasons why they are facing eviction. Depending on the State, the tenant facing eviction, would have a 3 to 5 day grace period before any official action to evict is taken. If you can resolve the problem and have the tenant move out of the property prior to completing the eviction process, this result is favorable to both the tenant and your business.
Avoiding an eviction and the processes help your property management business to save money, time, and other resources. For the tenant avoiding an eviction can allow them to look for a new rental without having the legal brand of having an eviction from a property they rented.
To resolve an eviction without going through the entire legal process can happen if you have an open line of communication with the tenant that you wish to evict.
Seek Advice From A Lawyer
When entering into any process that involves court proceedings, as evictions require, it is advisable to consult a real estate attorney or legal team. That way you understand and tenant’s and your own rights, and what will be required to complete the eviction legally.
Sending a pre-eviction letter from your lawyer or legal team might get the tenant to act to resolve the eviction before any legal action. However, if the tenant fails to resolve the reasons for the eviction, then eviction is the best way to remove the unwanted tenants from your property.
When entering into an eviction you must be aware that your property management firm can be financially harmed if done incorrectly.
A tenant can turn the eviction lawsuit against you if the process of the eviction is not followed properly. Remember to get an advice from a real estate lawyer whenever you are evicting a tenant.
Since you are seeking help from a lawyer, prepare to present all documents signed by your firm and the tenant for the lawyer to review. Here is a quick list of needed documents to review:
- Lease Agreement
- Rental Application
- Late Rent Notice
- Landlord’s Notice to Enter
- Any warning letters of improper behavior
- Any eviction Letters
Final Thoughts About The Usage Of Eviction Letter
Eviction is often the only way to get a bad tenant to vacate your rental property. As explained in this post it is best to attempt to get the bad tenant to leave the property prior to going through the eviction process. But when needed, always remember to follow the correct and legal process of removing or evicting a tenant.
I hope you learned a lot on this topic and good luck in removing bad tenants from your rental property.
Please feel free to write comments or questions below.
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