Too often landlords enter into a tenancy agreement with the belief that, if things go badly, they can always evict the tenants.
There’s a reason evicting a tenant should be considered the last resort. You might lose, and wind up with an angry tenant, no eviction order, and no end in sight.
The best strategy for evicting a tenant remains avoiding it altogether by carefully screening tenants and actively managing the property. Even then, eviction is a risk. When confronted with it, keep these tips in mind:
Make No Assumptions
Even though an eviction may be held in a nonthreatening setting in front of a mediator, the action still is adversarial. There is, at best, a 50% chance a landlord will win. In reality, that probability may be slightly less because there is a tendency to mediate the dispute in a way that keeps the tenants in the property.
Landlords have the burden of proving the case, and will be held to a higher standard than the tenants. There is no presumption that you will prevail.
It Comes Down to Credibility
A landlord’s credibility will make or break the eviction case. That credibility is demonstrated by clear, concise, unemotional testimony. The more professional the landlord appears, the better the odds of winning.
Appearing dispassionate can be a challenge after months of struggling with a nightmare tenant, but disorganization, rants, or evasive answers will sink the case.
Documentation Bolsters Credibility
Testimony alone is seldom enough to convince a tribunal or court to side with the landlord. Documentation is key. If you had to produce a tenant file today, what would be in it? A copy of the rental ad? The signed rental application, tenancy agreement and move-in and move-out condition reports? Rent payment history? Completed repair requests? Receipts for repairs? Emails or notes from tenant conversations? Photos? Videos?
Don’t Offer the Tenant Ammunition
Eviction is war. Don’t offer tenants any weapons.
The specific grounds offered for the eviction do not limit the issues that the tenant may raise. Expect a fight. That unanswered noise complaint, the bugs that crawled across the carpet, or the leaky faucet that took two weeks to repair will come up in the discussion. The more of these minor complaints a tenant can prove, the less likely the landlord will appear credible. Restore that credibility by showing that the tenant failed to report problems, or that issues were resolved in an efficient manner.
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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.