Eviction, however unpleasant, is a process that many landlords will have to go through in their career. Whether a renter is behind on rent, refuses to pay for damages caused, or proceeds to break any other rules stated in the signed lease, eviction proceedings may need to be put into motion. To maintain a successful business, it’s crucial that the legal process is fully understood and followed step by step. Be aware of these 5 common eviction mistakes to avoid any legal ramifications and efficiently remove the problematic tenant from your property:

1. Lack of a strong lease agreement

In order to avoid any “he said, she said” when evicting a tenant make sure you start off on the right foot. Make certain every rule and responsibility is listed clearly on the lease, especially in regards to what warrants an eviction. Spell out policies on late or unpaid rent and ensure renters know what will happen if they fail to comply so there are no surprises. If a property has strict noise, pet or smoking policies, explicitly state those, as well. Chances are vague or loose language in a lease will not bode in favor of an eviction once legal proceedings begin.

2. Self help eviction

While landlords or management may feel like they have every right to their property, this is not the case after a lease is signed. Eviction is a legal process that should be carefully maneuvered and should never be taken into the landlord’s own hands. Changing the locks, removing doors or windows, or shutting off utilities, are illegal means of forcing renters out of a property and will put landlords and their business in hot water. File for action of eviction in the courts and navigate the eviction process safely and efficiently.

3. No proof of cause

As for any legal proceeding, sufficient evidence will be required to ensure grounds for a tenant’s eviction. To ensure the success of this outcome, keep detailed written records of all transactions and correspondences so nothing is up for interpretation. Evidence may include a signed lease agreement, tenants payment history, proof of damage caused with a prior inspection checklist, proof of proper notice, or documentation of any complaints from other tenants. Without this evidence, landlords could face legal repercussions and damaged reputations.

4. Failure to give adequate notice

Even in the case of eviction, everyone deserves a chance to right their wrongs before receiving punishment. Before bringing it to court, landlords must give written warning to renters stating what they must comply with and when before legal eviction proceedings begin. Any misstep while notifying renters may delegitimize the process completely so this step must be taken with caution. Be aware of local and state laws as these may alter specific requirements of the eviction process.

5. Not asking professionals for help

The worst thing anyone can do for themselves is act like they know everything. Eviction is a very intricate legal process that can get messy quickly if rushed or inadequately completed. Hire an attorney or reach out to legal professionals that can walk you through the steps and steer you away from any legal mishaps. The money spent here can and will be worth the success of your business in the future.

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