5 Reasons Landlords Lose Eviction Cases

by Chris on September 26, 2011

Having a problem tenant is trouble enough. But what if evicting that tenant isn’t an option?

A landlord’s actions prior to an eviction can jeopardize the case later on, allowing the tenant time to damage the unit or live rent free for months.

Avoid these missteps, and you can avoid income loss:

Not Minding the Details
Defective eviction notices are one of the most common–and most harmful, mistakes landlords make when facing a problem tenant. If the notice is not timed exactly, not filled out perfectly, or not served on each of the tenants following the letter of the law, the case likely will be dismissed, and the landlord will have to start over.

If you are not certain how to proceed with a problem tenant, speak with an eviction specialist. The money spent can result in shorter vacancies and a better chance of collecting unpaid rent or damages.

Eviction is Always an Option, Right?
Wrong! An eviction will only go forward if the landlord can prove they have specific legal justification to get the tenant out. Even in cases where the tenant has broken the landlord’s rules, it may not be enough. At the same time, threatening to evict a tenant may be reason for them to claim damages against the landlord.

Research the specific grounds available for an eviction, or discuss your specific case with an eviction specialist before you make threats or tell the tenant you want them to leave.

It Won’t Happen to Me
Most tenancies go along just fine. This can create a sense of complacency, especially where the landlord and tenant get along in the beginning. Don’t count on goodwill alone; develop the habit of documenting the condition of the property, rent history, and all communications with the tenant–just in case things take a turn for the worse.

If you are forced to bring an eviction case, the tenant may claim that there was something wrong with the property, or the way you managed it. Be prepared!

Being Slack on Late Rent
Many–if not most, evictions are foreshadowed by a late rent payment. Occasionally, the tenant has a legitimate problem and it won’t happen again. But more likely, the tenant is showing a lack of respect for their obligations to their landlord. Giving the tenant the benefit of the doubt with late rent payments is usually a mistake.

By cutting the tenant some slack the first time, it’ll probably happen again. Before you know it, you are in a cycle of late rent, followed by excuses and empty promises, then an eviction notice, countered by a rent payment to reinstate the tenancy, and so on until collecting the rent is like pulling teeth.

Enforce an on-time rent policy by Reporting Tenant Pay Habits. As a credit reporting agency, Tenant Verification Service allows landlords to report tenant pay habits each month. This provides incentive to tenants who will think twice before skipping a payment.

An Ounce of Prevention
Virtually every tenant who has been evicted–whether for failing to pay rent, damaging a unit, breaching a lease or committing a crime, looks for another place to rent. Don’t let it be yours.

Some landlords file eviction papers or try to collect only to find out the tenant is not who they said they were.  Have each applicant complete a rental application and verify the person’s identity before you rent.  The information you collect may be all you have to go on if you need to track them down later.

Conduct a thorough tenant background check, including a credit check, on every applicant. No exceptions.  Otherwise, you risk turning your property over to someone else’s nightmare tenant–and you won’t even know it until it’s too late.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jimmie Allen October 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm

I have a tenant’s rent check that bounced for September and now the rent is due. She is in the hospital with her two kids. She said the county of San Diego di d not pay her becasue she did not provide her new address which is my condo property. Should I start eviciton procedures? One person thinks I am not sentative to the ladys condition. She has to stay at the hospital becaue her teo kids are in the hospital and she said she has not had to time to leave the hospital to keep the county to send her money to her bank.

Richard Lucas October 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm

In this article, you mention speaking with an “eviction specialist” several times. I have never heard of an eviction specialist. Please explain what (who) you are referring to.

Richard Lucas

Chris November 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Hi Richard,
I’m referring to an attorney or a paralegal in those areas where paralegals are allowed to do evictions —

Monique June 26, 2014 at 11:07 pm

I am a tenant … There’s three of us that leave in the house. ..In my husband lost his job the last check was suppose to pay for rent of May. … It didnt we had others bills to pay also. … we told her were struggling to get rent paid and everything else we’ve been giving her something every week to bounce back but she keeps adding late fees is not helping us at all. .. Tell us today we owe her 700 or eviction I don’t want on our credit I’m struggling to feed my kid trying to give her the money but I’m getting drowned in late fees what do I do. …

larry July 30, 2014 at 4:56 am

we have tenant that has been in our guess unit for three mouths without paying anything and has reported me to the city and the housing & community to try to get money for Relocation because the city told us that our unit is a living quarters not a single dwelling and i bought my house like that knowing that it was for a rental purposes too city has ask us to get them out i need to know what can i do to get them out at this point I have a done the eviction procedures I’m to the point where I am waiting for a court trial what could make me lose this case,

Gela September 7, 2015 at 3:04 am

I recently started dealing with evictions. I wanted to ask something regarding the form that i needed to complete regarding the claim for possession. I completed everything perfectly, the paperwork was perfectly done as well, but i forgot to put the full name of the person who served section 21. Do you think that this is going to be a problem? I am worried about that because as far as i know the court wants everything perfect. Could you please let me know? Thank you in advance

JOHNNIE SKIP July 22, 2018 at 1:45 pm

What if my landlord lose her Eviction case against me ??

Jacqueline Holloway November 10, 2019 at 1:29 pm

I have two guests that turned into residents and I had to start eviction process they think I’m going to lose

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