Evicting your tenant may seem like the easiest and fastest option, but let’s face it—nobody wants to be that landlord! Furthermore, sending a notice to “cure or quit” can cost you a small fortune. And there is no guarantee you will fill the vacancy soon.
Before going down the eviction road, it is good to consider the expenses you may incur. Court costs are often the least of your worries. You still have a mortgage to pay, past due rent, property turnover costs, and potential damages. The locksmith alone may set you back $150. In total, an eviction could cost you around $3,500 to complete in three to four weeks.
How long does an eviction usually take? The eviction process can take five weeks to three months, assuming there are no delays. Any setbacks in the process could hold up the eviction for up to 12 months. The challenges don’t stop there. After the notice to quit, the tenant typically has one to four weeks by law to vacate. Even then, you may have to pay a sheriff to remove them forcibly.
Let’s take a closer look at how to evict a tenant to appreciate why it’s not always the best and most cost-effective option.
Stages of the Summary Process (Eviction)
The legal process varies from state to state. But the general process involves sending a “pay or quit” notice or a notice to quit and then filing for eviction. The eviction happens after the judge has made a decision.
The first stage of eviction proceedings usually takes place when a tenant has missed the monthly rent payment, or you have evidence of a lease violation. You send a notice to pay due rent or quit the rental unit. This is a firm reminder of the outstanding debt or lease violation. By law, you give the tenants time to resolve or cure the issue.
You can file a formal eviction lawsuit at the local court if the issue remains unresolved. But, remember, it’s illegal to carry out a self-help eviction with an official eviction order from a judge.
Once the correct eviction paperwork has been filed, you and the tenant will have to face a judge and present your case. If the judge rules in your favor, you can take legal steps to remove the tenant from your rental unit.
Remember that the eviction moratorium prevented landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the ban on evictions didn’t free tenants from their responsibility to pay rent. They are still liable for their overdue rent.
Still, between the costs and the emotional stress that comes with evicting a tenant, a fair and even a good landlord will do everything in their power to help resolve the problem outside of the courts.
6 Strategies for Landlords to Help Tenants Avoid Eviction
1. Set clear rules in the lease
Past due rent is the main reason for serving an eviction notice but not the only one. Damage to the property, annoying or even dangerous pets, and noise complaints are some of the top problems landlords have with tenants.
You should always be upfront about the general rules of leasing your property. Include these rules in the lease agreement and review them with tenants when signing the rental agreement. Also, be specific about what constitutes property damage and whether they are responsible for the repairs or the costs of repairs.
2. Encourage communication about financial problems
Landlords are more willing to work with a tenant to overcome financial problems when they are upfront about their difficulties paying rent. While this is the tenant’s responsibility, you should promote good and open communication so that the tenant feels free to approach you.
Of course, you don’t want to come across as a pushover landlord who accepts late payments. And you must deal with all tenants in a consistent way. However, you can encourage tenants to let you know as soon as they begin to struggle with their finances.
For example, encourage them to let you know if their work situation changes. This should help them feel comfortable talking to you about a problem that can be embarrassing.
As a Realtor licensed in Massachusetts, Maria provides strategic marketing and transaction management services to her clients across Boston MA. Her business is built on dedication, communication ,dete....