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Achieving a Successful Eviction

An Envelope with an “Eviction Notice” StampMost Burlington property owners usually avoid evictions as these are often time-consuming and really bad for monthly cash flows. But when settling your dispute directly with your tenant becomes nearly impossible, it could be a sign to get started on the eviction process. Here are some ways to ensure that your eviction is a successful one.

Eviction is actually not the forcing of a tenant of the leased property. Rather, an eviction is a legal process by which a landlord or property owner regains possession of (or full legal rights to) the property. When you lease a property to a tenant, the lease documents legally assign both rights and responsibilities to you and your tenant. It is a legal contract. To make that contract void, your tenant must willingly leave the property, otherwise, a legal process has to be followed.

In any eviction process, the first step is always understanding the Landlord/Tenant laws in your area. While some federal laws apply to all situations, there are also different state and even local laws that you need to know. If you do not follow all the relevant laws, your eviction will fail and you have to start over. For example, you will need to know how much advance notice you are required to give your tenant to remedy the lease violation, how long the grace period is for late payments, how many days you should give your tenant to vacate the property, and so on.

When you know the law and how it applies to you, the next step would be to give your tenant a Pay or Quit or Notice of Lease Violation. This document is the official notice that also explains to your tenant that they are in violation of the lease. Make sure that you include instructions for the tenant to be in compliance with the lease terms again. If your state requires it, send the notice by certified mail or whatever delivery method is required. Be sure that whatever stated actions or remedies follow all time periods required by law.

But what if the tenant is still unwilling or unable to return to compliance with their lease terms despite the notice? In this situation, the next step would be to document your legal grounds for eviction and file a Forcible Detainer with the local court. Depending on where your rental property is, the required documents may include both an Eviction Complaint and a Summons. Both outline your case for eviction and inform the tenant of the action filed against them. You must file your form with the court and serve them to your tenant, either in person or by using the delivery method required by law.

Once you have filed a Forcible Detainer, the court will consider your case for eviction and issue a ruling. If the judge rules in your favor, they could also include the instructions for the forcible removal of the tenant from your property, if needed. Eviction of a tenant who is unwilling to vacate the property is not allowed without a judgment from the court.

Although the judgment is the legal end of the eviction process, for landlords, the final step is overseeing the removal of the tenant and their belongings from the property. In most states, landlords can call on the local police, constable, or sheriff’s department to assist in removing a tenant. Do not intimidate or harass your tenant. It is illegal for landlords to do this in any state, even with an eviction judgment in hand. Different states have different laws for handling tenant removal as well as their personal belongings so be sure to follow the laws in your area. Violation of a tenant’s rights, even after legally evicting them can cause them to sue you and potentially delay or even overturn your eviction judgment.

A successful eviction is a legal eviction that is handled carefully and is properly documented from beginning to end. But evictions can be very delicate, usually requiring time and detailed knowledge of tenant-landlord laws. Why not let the Burlington property management pros at Real Property Management Teyata handle your eviction for you instead? Contact us online or call 206-861-5525 to learn more.

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