Renting out a property and have a tenant late on rent? Maybe you’ve found your tenant has damaged the rental property? Unfortunately, these are situations every landlord eventually encounters, along with other “tenant issues”. However, a couple temping things to avoid include changing locks and tossing their belongings to the curb.

Below are some answers to common questions.

Tenants are constantly late on rent, what can I do?

Sometimes a late payment can be overlooked, but when tenants start taking advantage of your generous understanding, there’s a conventional strategy used by many landlords – ousting the tenants. However, this should be a last resort, because not only is time consuming it can become expensive. The following pointers may help save time and money with a legal process.

  1. Demand payment by confronting them. If tenants are simply experiencing an issue, a landowner can choose to agree to receive payment and/or back-rent on a specific date. Although, landowners have no obligations to this.
  2. If payment is not received by the agreed date, a “breach of agreement” letter should be written that grants tenants 7 days to pay their rent. These are sent out via mail by a registered debt collector. Include intentions for reporting if rent payment is not received within the granted period.
  3. Both landowners and debt collectors have the ability to register default records against a tenant or occupant 20 business days after delivery of the “breach of agreement” letter.
  4. If, after the granted 7-day period payment is not received, send tenants a cancellation notice that states the rent/lease agreement has been canceled, and they are to immediately vacate the property.
  5. If the occupant or tenant has failed to vacate the property or question the rent agreement cancellation, landowners should move forward with a “eviction order” using legal assistance.

What is the eviction process?

If you are forced to file an eviction notice through the courts, there is a process as follows:

  1. Court filing

If tenants/occupants neglect to obey all notices, the landowner must file complaints through their local lease court. It is recommended to request an affirmation filing form. There are many courts that have online filing available, but it is important to file an eviction notice in person.

You should take any copies of lease records, disclosures, addendums, notices or other documents that may be important. After all documents have been submitted, the court processes them and schedules the hearing date. The time between filing and setting a date depends on the jurisdiction, but filing for an eviction notice should be done immediately following the granted period.

  • Court hearing

Both the landowner and their attorney must appear in court to verbally and clearly state the purpose for eviction. The tenant will receive a notice of the court date requesting them to appear. Landlords need to be proficient, obliging, and efficient during court.

  • Writ of Possession

Basically, this is the court legally requiring the tenant/occupant to return possession of the rented/leaded property to the landlord by a set date. Generally, a sheriff will serve the tenant with these instructions. If the tenant has not left the property, they will be coercively evicted.

  • Eviction Day

On the last eviction day, if the occupants remain in the property the sheriff meets with the landowner and oversees their forced entry in the rental property. The sheriff will remove the tenant if they are inside, and their belongings then become the landlord’s responsibility to remove.

It is ideal for landlords to show up early for this process, with help to switch locks to prevent reentry from the tenants. Additionally, landlords should consider two important factors about evictions and evacuations – they can vary between local and state laws and be processed quickly.