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When Push Comes to Shove: Is it Worth Going Down the Eviction Route?


Keys to a new rental apartment

Sometimes, your agreement with a tenant just isn’t going to work out. Perhaps they’ve been late one too many times, or they’ve breached the terms of agreement (such as pet policies or bothering the neighbors). Nearly every landlord will have to make the difficult decision of evicting a tenant. It’s not fun, and you’ll have to make you comply with your local and state laws.


But is it worth pursuing the eviction route? Below are valid reasons for sending a notice of eviction to delinquent tenants.


Not Paying the Rent


This is an obvious reason for evicting tenants, and no one will blame you for doing so. Landlords are well within their rights to evict tenants for non-payment of rent, as well as being habitually late with their payments. It’s worth noting that the definition of the term ‘late payments’ varies from state to state.


You will have to follow the local laws where you live in order to successfully evict a tenant. In most cases, you’ll start by sending a formal notice to tenants known as “Notice to Pay or Quit.”


If your renter is unable to pay the rent for the month, you could create a payment plan that they can follow while they resolve their financial issues. This can be a great way of bolstering your relationship with an otherwise good tenant.


Pro tip: It is a good idea to outline a policy for late payments. Be clear about penalty fees and how frequently a tenant can be late before you initiate legal proceedings. It is important to document every single payment you receive, including late payments, to establish a paper trail. Evidence is everything that matters in evictions.


Violating the Terms of the Lease


Landlords are fully within their right to evict tenants who violate the terms of the lease. Violations include failure to follow policies (such as those dictated by an HOA), breaching the pet policy, or subletting to occupants not listed on the lease. In any case, it is a good idea to make concessions to tenants if they have had a good history of making timely payments.


Just make sure you are holding your end of the bargain. Your tenant can sue you if you violate the rental agreement.


Pro tip: Hire a property attorney to create a rental agreement that is designed to minimize your liability. Make sure this document is signed by both parties to help you in court.


Damage to the Rental Unit


Regular wear and tear will occur - even if your tenant is taking care of the property as best as they can. Ultimately, the tenant is responsible for any damage that is caused to the rental unit. But there are boundaries that should not be crossed, such as causing severe water damage, letting apartments deteriorate to the point that it becomes a safety hazard, and making huge holes in the walls. However, if your tenant has learned their lesson and is willing to foot the bill for repairs, it may not be worth evicting them after all.


Pro tip: It is important to take pictures, and video footage of the property before your new tenant moves in. If the condition of the property deteriorates, you can always refer back to the video to prove that the tenant caused the damage because it wasn’t there before their arrival.


The Tenant is Using Your Property for Illegal Purposes


You can evict tenants if you have reason to suspect that they are confusing illegal activity on the premises. This applies to both legitimate and illegitimate businesses as well. This is because a commercial activity from the rental unit is in breach of the rental agreement and any insurance policies that you may have. Moreover, this could also be a breach of zoning laws.


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