Eviction Law: 5 Things Landlords Must Know About Evictions

Renting out a home or apartment can be a solid stream of income, provided that you have tenants who pay their rent on time each month and follow the regulations laid out in the lease agreement. If you have tenants who are behind on their rent or otherwise in violation of their lease, you may need to start the legal process to evict them from your property. However, this can often be a lengthy and costly procedure. Read on for five things landlords must know when considering evicting a tenant.

1. Notify Tenants About Late Rent Consequences

If your tenant has fallen behind on rent, it’s important to have a paper trail documenting your attempts to contact them. Send a written letter as soon as rent is 30 days past due, detailing the amount owed and providing a proposed payoff plan. If there is a penalty for late payment in the lease they signed, detail that here as well.

2. File the Proper Paperwork

When you decide to evict your tenant, whether for failure to pay rent or violation of the lease, you first must serve them with a notice to quit. This document outlines the reasons why you want to evict them and documentation that they must be out of the property within five days. In most states, if the issue is nonpayment of rent, the tenant can pay the rent in full within that five-day period to avoid eviction. Make sure you check your specific state’s paperwork requirements to avoid future complications.

3. If They Don’t Leave

In the best-case scenario, your tenant will either remedy the situation or leave within five days as requested. If not, however, your next step is to get a court order. While this can be a lengthy process, many states have specialized housing courts to help you resolve the matter within a few days.

4. When to Involve Law Enforcement

Even with a court order, it may be necessary for local law enforcement to remove your tenants and their property from your rental. This is a costly step as you must hire an officer at your own expense. For multiple reasons, it is in your best interest to avoid this approach if possible.

5. Know Your State Laws

The laws surrounding eviction vary from state to state, so if you need to evict a tenant, it’s important to retain an attorney who specializes in housing law. If you are in Utah, for instance, consider the services of the Law Offices of Kirk A Cullimore, or else choose an attorney firm near you who specializes in landlord law. Attempting to evict a tenant without a lawyer increases the possibility that your tenant will attempt to sue you under the Fair Housing Act. This is also why it’s so important to document warnings you’ve given him or her prior to pursuing eviction.

In short, becoming knowledgeable about eviction laws before becoming a landlord, and involving legal professionals when appropriate, can help you avoid a costly conundrum.

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