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Achieving a Successful Eviction

An Envelope with an “Eviction Notice” StampMany Essex property owners view evictions as time-consuming and bad for monthly cash flows. But when settling your dispute directly with your tenant becomes nearly impossible, it could be a sign to get started on the eviction process. This article discusses ways to ensure that your eviction is a successful one.

Contrary to what most people think, eviction is not the action of forcing a tenant out of the leased property. Rather, an eviction is a legal process by which a landlord or property owner regains possession of (or full legal rights to) the property. When you lease a property to a tenant, the lease documents legally assign both rights and responsibilities to you and your tenant. It is a legal contract. In order to void that contract, either the tenant must voluntarily leave or a corresponding legal process has to be followed.

In any eviction process, the first step is always understanding the Landlord/Tenant laws in your area. While some federal laws apply to all situations, there are also different state and even local laws that you need to know. If you do not follow all the relevant laws, your eviction will fail and you have to start over. For example, you will need to know how much advance notice you are required to give your tenant to remedy the lease violation, how long the grace period is for late payments, how many days you should give your tenant to vacate the property, and so on.

When you know the law and how it applies to you, the next step would be to give your tenant a Pay or Quit or Notice of Lease Violation. This document will be your official notice to your tenant informing them that they are in violation of the lease. The document should also contain instructions the tenant can follow to be in compliance with the lease once more. If your state requires it, send the notice by certified mail or whatever delivery method is required. Be sure that whatever stated actions or remedies follow all time periods required by law.

But what if the tenant is still unwilling or unable to return to compliance with their lease terms despite the notice? Then, your next course of action would be to document your legal grounds for eviction and file a Forcible Detainer with the local court. Depending on the location of your rental property, the required documents could include both an Eviction Complaint and a Summons. These documents outline your case for eviction as well as inform the tenant of the action filed against them. You must file your form with the court and serve them to your tenant, either in person or by using the delivery method required by law.

The court will consider your case for eviction after you file a Forcible Detainer, and will then issue a ruling. If the judge rules in your favor, they may also include instructions for the forcible removal of the tenant from the property, if required. Eviction of a tenant who is unwilling to vacate the property is not allowed without a judgment from the court.

Although the judgment is the legal end of the eviction process, for landlords, the final step is overseeing the removal of the tenant and their belongings from the property. The state’s local police, constable, or sheriff’s department can be called on to assist landlords in removing a tenant. Do not intimidate or harass your tenant. It is illegal for landlords to do this in any state, even with an eviction judgment in hand. Every state also has different laws regarding the removal of a tenant as well as how their personal belongings should be handled. Make sure you follow your local laws about these. Violation of a tenant’s rights could be grounds for them to sue you, even after they have been legally evicted. This could cause a delay or even the overturning of your eviction judgment.

A legal eviction that has been well documented and handled from start to end is a successful eviction. Evictions are a very delicate matter and require time and detailed knowledge of tenant’-landlord laws. Why not let the Essex property management pros at Real Property Management Sterling handle your eviction for you instead? Contact us online or call 802-861-6468 to learn more.

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