Eviction Strategies for Landlords

by Chris on May 31, 2010

Evictions can be the most stressful part of rental property management.  They may also be the most costly. It is wise for a landlord to consider the options, and adopt an eviction strategy:

File Notice Right Away

The stories may be sad, but it is best not to listen. 

Trying to be nice to tenants who are in trouble can sometimes force a landlord to be victimized by unscrupulous tenants.  Once the tenant has broken the lease, a landlord should immediately file the legal notice to quit.  It may take weeks for an eviction to proceed through the courts, and the landlord will be losing money the entire time.  Any amnesty granted to a bad tenant may only delay the inevitable, and increase the landlord’s losses. Landlording is, after all, a business.

Cash for Keys Compromise

Evictions are costly, especially if the tenant fights back and prolongs the proceedings. In contested cases, there is no guarantee that the court will grant the landlord a judgment for the entire amount they are seeking.  A tenant may claim, for instance, that the landlord was slow to make necessary repairs, and the court may reduce the landlord’s past due rent judgment accordingly. 

A landlord also suffers the lingering fear that the tenant will retaliate and damage the rental property while they remain in possession.

Another strategy is to avoid the eviction proceeding by working out a compromise with the tenant to terminate the lease and turn the property back over.  Although controversial, some property managers routinely utilize this “cash for keys” remedy to avoid court fees they may never recover.  Five hundred dollars in return for the tenant’s peaceful exit may seem offensive, but it may also be the least expensive of your options.

Screen Tenants Thoroughly

No one understands how critical tenant background checks are more than a landlord who has faced having to evict tenants.  Often, the landlord is left with unpaid rent and damage to the rental property.  Imagine turning your tenant over to collection only to find that the social security number they supplied is false, and can’t be traced.

Humans are creatures of habit, and if a tenant has caused problems in the past, they are likely to repeat the pattern.  The trick with tenant screening is to look for discrepancies amongst the various reports.  A tenant credit check is not enough.  Also review criminal background reports, as well as eviction reports. You just may catch a repeat offender before they move into your rental property.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Services, 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.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Rich R June 15, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Although I haven’t had a problem tenant in some time, I avoid summary eviction notices and make the tenant aware that it’s in his / her best interest (in terms of his / her record) to not force my hand. That alone makes a strong case for pay up now or move out. Also, a signed promise to move out by a certain date is less stressful for both parties. In the very few cases where I lost rent, I don’t even try to collect it; I just thank my lucky stars I don’t have to deal with that person any more.

Linda L. June 16, 2010 at 8:12 am

ABSOLUTELY do a credit and background check before renting to ANYONE, especially people you THINK you know. Always have a signed lease. I have an ugly eviction that is taking forever. The tenants are career grifters that have spent a lifetime cheating unsuspecting business partners and failing to pay taxes, utilities and living expenses. A simple background check would have given me a window into their intentions with me. It has cost me an unthinkable amount of money in lost rent and legal fees. I wish I knew about organizations such as this to give me insight before these tenants happened to me. I offered them moving expenses, but they know it’s worth their twisted while to stay as long as they can. What a nightmare!

Allan June 18, 2010 at 9:23 am

Late Payment of rent is also an effective way to evict a troublesome tenant. I totally agree the best way to end a tenancy is by mutual agreement but if that doesn’t work, you must force the tenant to leave by evicting them if you can. The tenant must be causing some sort of trouble. IE Not paying rent, running a daycare, having to many parties, not paying rent, paying the rent late and so on. Surprisingly the two that are easiest to prove are non payment of rent and late payment of rent. The act allows you to evict a tenant who is repeatedly late in paying rent. What is defined as “repeatedly late” 3 times within a given year not consecutively. Be prepared to prove your claim with proper evidence: NSF Checks, Breach letters for late rent, a 10 day notice for non payment of rent, a sworn affidavit from a witness. Once you have three late payments in your back pocket issue a one month notice to end tenancy.

Florencio Barron June 24, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I live in Texas and just file to evict a tenant. The court day has been set and I was wondering if someone could give me some tips on what to except in the court room.

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