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Illustration about a tenant picking up her stuff and moving out

What Rights Does a Property Manager Have When it Comes to Evicting Tenants?

July 25, 2020

What rights does a property manager have when it comes to apartment living?

More specifically, when it comes to evicting tenants? Well, that is a very good question. These days, it is so very easy to get sued. We are here to help you avoid that sticky, time-consuming and often costly situation with some helpful hints and tips. You need to do your best to take all emotions out of it (this is business!). Make sure that your reasons for eviction are fair and valid and will hold up in court should it go that far. If you choose to evict, give a formal and timely notification, and  learn to protect yourself! Read on for rules you must follow as a landlord when it comes to the process of evicting tenants.

As a landlord, you have probably seen it all – depending on how long you have been in the business. Horror stories range from tenants running a secret dog fighting club in their backyard to purposely clogging toilets and sink to annoy their downstairs neighbors with leaks and odors. Now, these are very bizarre instances and evicting someone is not always so black and white.

As a landlord, you must have just cause. Typically, there are three types of “eviction notices for cause.”

“Pay rent or evict” notices are sent when a tenant has not been paying their rent. Tenants are given a period of time to either pay rent or get out. That “period of time” is determined by the state in which they live.

“Cure or evict” notices are given when a tenant does something wrong or violates a term of the lease agreement. Like number one, these notices give the tenant a set amount of time to fix, or “cure,” the problem or else they will be evicted.

“Unconditional evict” notices are usually only used when a tenant has a pattern of bad characteristics or actions like paying late rent, not paying at all, damaging the property, or engaging in illegal activities.

What do you do about a bad tenant?

So, what do you do if you have a bad tenant and need to evict them but they just won’t leave? You start an eviction lawsuit. According to NOLO.com, “A landlord can’t begin an eviction lawsuit without first legally terminating the tenancy.”

The landlord must give the tenant written notice, as specified in the state’s termination statute. If the tenant doesn’t move or resolve the problem, the landlord can then file a lawsuit to evict. This is called an unlawful detainer lawsuit. “State laws set out very detailed requirements to end a tenancy. Different types of termination notices are required for different types of situations, and each state has its own procedures as to how termination notices and eviction papers must be written and delivered.” If you win the unlawful detainer lawsuit, you will get a judgment for possession of the property and/or for unpaid rent. But you can’t just move the tenant and his things out onto the sidewalk — trying to remove a tenant yourself can cause a lot of trouble.

Now that you know how to notify a tenant of eviction WITH cause, we are going to school you on how to notify a tenant of eviction WITHOUT cause. Landlords typically utilize a 30-day or 60-day (one of the two) notice in order to evict a tenant when said tenant has not done anything wrong. A lot of cities that are rent controlled, however, do not allow this type of eviction. Instead, they require the landlord to prove a legally recognized reason for evicting tenants. This is also known as “just cause.”

Not that we are doubting your abilities and aptitude as a landlord, but unless you know your legal rights like the very back of your hand and unless you dot every single “i” and cross every single “t” before evicting a tenant, it’s very possible that you could end up on the losing side. Even if you think you followed every rule in the book, it’s always a best practice to thoroughly familiarize yourself with the Landlord and Tenant Act and seek legal aid and talk to a fair housing professional if you find yourself, unfortunately, preparing and serving termination notices.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. Be sure to consult with a legal professional before taking any action.

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