Landlord, Avoid Making These 10 Mistakes While Tenant Eviction Process

The purpose of this blog post is to discuss all the issues surrounding the tenant eviction process thoroughly, so as to educate the reader not to make costly mistakes during the next tenant eviction.

It has been observed that it’s too common to make mistakes especially earlier in the landlording career. Mistakes that range from using a wrong notice form to improper entry. And the mistakes that may cost nothing in some case to hundreds of dollar in another case.

Understand Truth of Eviction

You need to come to the terms with 2 important facts at the very start of the process.

  1. It’s a time-consuming process.
  2. It’s most likely, you may lose some money, in terms of unpaid rent plus legal fees whether you do the eviction process by yourself or hire a lawyer. So sooner you get rid of the tenant better chances of losing less money.

Important: If the due process properly and correctly followed, the eviction process can be accelerated for the desired result.

Once you realize these important aspects of evicting a tenant, you would be able to control ongoing anxiety during the whole episode and concentrate your attention on the real process.

Did you try to resolve by negotiating with the tenant?

For the above-stated factors, it’s always advisable to try to talk with the tenant to find a middle way and avoid the pain of eviction. If it is for the reason of late payment or non-payment of rent, it’s prudent to find some middle ground. If you have a good tenant with a good history of rent payment, it’s better to give installment for the backlog rather than go for eviction.

Avoid Making Mistakes while Evicting a Tenant
Avoid Making Mistakes while Evicting a Tenant

In What Way the Landlord would pay for the Mistakes?

  1. Start Over Again, loss of time – Let’s say you did not give notice with the stipulated minimum time required for the non-payment of rent. You may lose the case, even if you have a valid reason to request the eviction And you have to start over from the first notice again.
  2. Loss of rent – You have started the eviction process, which means there is no going back. And your tenant would come to know as they would receive the first notice. Most likely that would have them stop paying further the rent even if the dispute is not over the non-payment of rent. Once you start the eviction process, no rent coming in.
  3. Disruption of Business – Stop payment of the rent by the tenant, is the stop of the cash flow, which you are receiving month-by-month. That can disrupt your business planning.
  4. Can energize your tenant – When a tenant realize that you are taking all the due measures for the eviction, the tenant would start preparing to move out. They perceive eviction is just a matter of time, but it’s going to happen. As against that, the result of your mistake and delays can energize your tenant to resist. It may become hard to evict the tenant.
  5. Long-term Psychological Effect – The rent collection is the main sources of income for any landlord’s business. The disruption caused by the eviction process can have a dire consequence. Think about the loss of rent for 4 months for the first time landlord. Or think about time consumed in the eviction process if a landlord has to deal with 2 or 3 eviction process at the same time. Unsuccessful eviction process and difficulties have the potential to the long-lasting negative effect on the landlording business.

The Most Important Advice on Tenant Eviction Process

Follow the law – At each and every step, make sure you are following your state of provincial law affecting landlord and tenancy issue.

Use the correct documents – Starting from giving the first notice, use the right and up-to-date forms.

Use a lawyer or paralegal – Most small landlords process the eviction by themselves. But if the stakes are higher, you should consider hiring a lawyer as you mistake can cost you even more. By which I mean, let’s say your tenant is a tough cookie or a lawyer, or the amount of your loss is bigger or you have already committed a blunder of improper entry.

10 Mistakes The Landlords Tend to Make too often

Self-help Eviction

This term is used when a landlord tries to evict the tenant by removing the tenant’s possession out of the property or change the lock without the tenant knowing. This is usually true in case of novice landlords or first timer. They tend to think ‘it’s my property and if the tenant doesn’t pay rent, I am going to kick them out’. This is illegal. Period. This can lead to cops involvement and an almost certain loss in the court of law. Don’t ever do that!

Don’t wait too long to give the first notice

Often the landlord lives in hopes of getting the issue resolved without any recourse. If the rent is late, the landlord would hope, it’d come in a few days. There is also a tendency not to annoy the tenant to permanently damage the relationship.

The prudent approach would be to give the first notice after waiting for a reasonable period of time(usually 1 or 2 days) and say that if they pay the rent within the notice period, the notice would be null and void.

Use the Correct Form

I can’t stress enough how important it is to use the correct form. It should not only be of your jurisdiction, but it should also be up-to-date. Often times, laws concerning landlord and tenant issue changes frequently. I use this website to always use correct and up-to-date form. Click Here

Don’t Stop Any Service Included in the Lease

Don’t jeopardize your case by making this mistake. It’s illegal to stop any service that’s included in the lease. If you shut down the essential service, that can lead to police involvement and that would have repercussion which won’t be in your favour for your legal fight against your tenant.

Making Mistakes in Calculating the Notice Period

This is one of the most common and silly mistakes. In case of non-payment of rent, you are required to give notice of certain days before you apply to the court for the hearing process for eviction. When you go to the court to apply for the hearing, the court clerk will check if you have given sufficient notice required by the law. You’ll be asked to provide the proof. If not done correctly, you’ll be asked to go back and do the process again. You’ll be at the square one.

My suggestion is to give 1 or 2 extra days to the tenant so that there won’t be any possibility of making mistake.

Ensuring the Notice Delivery Time added in the Notice Period

Let’s say the notice period required is 14 days. You are delivering the notice by a regular mail, you need to add another 5 days for the mail to travel to your tenant. This is an example. You should check with your landlord and tenant board about the exact period for the mail to travel. Most states and provinces have specific instruction around this issue.

Collecting the Proof of the Delivery of Notice

You would be required to present the proof that you have sent the notice. Often times the tenants refuse to acknowledge that they have received the notice. Some jurisdiction does recognize one side proof of the landlord. It’s prudent to try your best to collect some kind of proof. You can keep the receipt of the mail. You can have a 3rd party or another tenant present at the time of notice delivery.

It’s always prudent to send a duplicate copy of the notice by email, after sending original by mail!

My suggestion is to send regular mail or hand delivery and at the same time send an email or text of the same notice. The tenant won’t be able to deny that they did not receive the notice.

Having Corroborating Proof of the Reason for Eviction

You should have the proof of the offence. Let’s say you are asking for the eviction for the repeatedly(for last 6 month) late payment of rent. You should have the proof of late payment for those 6 months’ rent receipts or electronic receipt to support your claim.

Often time, the landlords make mistakes in judging what would be considered an admissible proof. If the stakes are high, my advice is to ask a lawyer or your landlord and tenant board to ensure you have a valid corroborating proof for your case.

Don’t Accept Partial Payment

In case of non-payment of the rent, it’s tempting to accept the partial payment if your tenant offers in the midst of the eviction process. But it may have an adverse effect on your legal fight with the tenant. Avoid accepting a partial payment.

My suggestion is to ask them to deposit the partial rent with the court. This move can have some distinguished advantage for a landlord. If the court rules in favour of your tenant and not grant the eviction, you would have a chance to secure that partial payment. If you have a solid case, by not accepting partial payment, you are showing the strength. That may help your tenant to prepare to move out.

No illegal Act like Improper Entry, Threat etc.

Many tenants have the capacity to get on your nerves with their offensive behaviour. Regardless of what they do, never ever take law in your hand. Refrain from uttering verbal threats, improper entry or changing locks. This kind of act would go against you in the court of law.

Conclusion: It is of utmost importance for the landlord to understand the due process of eviction and supportive knowledge of the landlord and tenant law of their jurisdiction. It’s up to the landlord to be knowledgeable and avoid making the mistake that has potential to cost a lot of money and in some instances the close of the business.

 

I hope you enjoyed the article. I’d grately appreciate your view on this topic in the comment section below!

Happy Landlording!

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