No landlord wants an eviction. That being said, they do often and sometimes unexpectedly occur. Tenants may behave very well during the first year’s tenancy, only to become a menace the following year. Whatever the cause of the need to evict, it remains paramount to follow the correct legal process. Failure to abide by standard legal procedures results in delay and added cost, often substantial, on your behalf.
There is no one set of rules for evictions. The legal process differs on a state-by-state basis. However, there are certain common legal threads that weave their way through the entire process; it is those mistakes that we review in today’s blog. One of the most common mistakes made by landlords is that they assume that, because they own the property, they can remove the tenant as they see fit. After all, they own the property, right?
Evicting tenants; the wrong way
However tempting it may be, you cannot evict the tenant on your own terms.
You must follow the letter of the law at all times. You cannot, under any circumstances, attempt to remove the tenant, or threaten to remove the tenant. By law, you have no right to act in this manner. The tenancy agreement is, after all, an agreement bound by both sides. Both the landlord and the tenant need to adhere to the contract they originally agreed to abide by.
For example – it would be wholly inappropriate for the landlord to remove the tenant’s belongings from the property. It would also be improper for the landlord to physically remove the tenant or threaten the tenant to leave the property. Landlords cannot interfere with the function of utilities, such as water and electricity. In addition, landlords are not permitted to change locks.
The underlying principle is this – that removing the tenant must be done in accordance with the law and courts, not on the physical and emotional whims of the landlord. If, as the landlord believes, the tenant has done wrong – then there is no need to remove the tenant by these means anyway; the law is there to do precisely that. Landlords who flout the above regulations are liable for more costs and even more delay in evicting the tenant to find a more suitable, long-term replacement.
Don’t forget – the tenant can also pursue legal action against the landlord for any of the above actions they take.
Making the right move
Bad tenants make for a bad investment. It’s understandable why landlords get so exercised. Tenants who fail to pay their rent become a financial and stress-ridden liability. They become a nuisance. It’s easy for landlords to turn to alternative, quick solutions – like those listed above – to evict the tenant as they see fit. But, as we have learned, it only results in more cost, more stress and more delays in both the short and long-term.
There have been harrowing cases where tenants respond violently to the actions of their landlord. For instance, there have been cases where landlords would turn off utilities and confront the tenant. Unhappy with the landlord, believing themselves to be right, they responded aggressively. It resulted in the death of the landlord. Though these cases are rare, it’s worth emphasising that you never really know how a tenant may respond. They could be going through personally challenging times and may, as a result, react disproportionately.
As one of the leading property management companies in Las Vegas, we have dealt with many cases of eviction. Some eviction cases are, of course, easier to manage than others; it depends how the tenant responds to your otherwise calm, reflective and – most importantly – law-abiding course of action. A tenant is more likely to be intimidated by the full weight of the law more than the threats and actions you take. The law is, after all, on your side.
Triumph is the leading property management company in Las Vegas. Be sure to check back to our blog soon for even more tips and tricks that you, as a landlord, can take to manage your investment not only the right way but the best way, too.