How to Evict a Tenant

police eviction
Photo Credit: Nick Gulotta via Compfight cc

Every property owner hopes to only rent to perfect tenants.  However, history shows that bad tenants are commonly able to filter through the best tenant screening processes.  So, what do you do when you’ve had enough of a particular problem tenant? We’ve put together a list of factors to consider when you arrive at this type of situation.

Things to Consider before Evicting a Tenant

It Depends on Location – It’s important  to understand, when facing a tenant eviction, that there isn’t a “cookie cutter” process to handle tenant evictions everywhere.  Every state and county has local laws that dictate the process.  For specifics on select locations, please refer to our blog posts on how to handle evictions in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and San Diego.

Note that although different states and counties have varying degrees of regulations, there are some common themes that apply to tenant eviction.  The next eight points highlight these themes.

Give Notice –  If a tenant doesn’t pay  rent on time then issue a notice to pay or quit (in California, it’s a 3 day notice, but most other locations it is a 5 day notice).

File with the Courts – If the tenant still does not fulfill his or her obligations within the required notice time (add an extra 5 days if service is done via mail versus being posted or through a process server) then you should officially file with the local court.

Let the Legal System Take Over – After filing in court, the Tenant will be legally served and will have another chance to respond.  A court date will be set to hear the matter, and a judge will rule on an eviction (either in favor or not in favor of eviction).  If an eviction is granted the judge will usually give the Tenant 5-7 days to vacate the property

Make sure they Leave – If the home is not vacated by the end of the 5-7 days, then call the constable can be called to schedule a legal “lockout” where a city official will assist in the removal of the tenant by posting a 24 hour notice statement on the property, and follow up to give the Tenant a final 30 minutes to get out of the property before the locks are changed

The bottom line is that the tenant eviction process is time consuming process.  The Best Evictions are the ones that don’t happen.  Evicting a tenant will try your patience, and cost you lots of time and money.  You should always employ a solid tenant screening strategy that will limit the number of evictions you will have to endure.  Ultimately, evictions are easiest on the property owner when they are carried out by a professional property manager.  Utilize a property manager with a solid eviction program to make your life a whole lot easier.