How to Deal With Tenant Evictions
How to Deal With Tenant EvictionsHow to Deal With Tenant Evictions

How to Deal With Tenant Evictions

As property managers, we put a lot of time and effort into making sure that tenants are well equipped to take up residence in our properties. Despite background checks, verifications of business and income, and several references, good landlords often have to face bad tenants.

The most common reason for eviction comes after non-payment of rent. Under Florida State laws, if the tenant has failed to pay rent, or has defaulted on several months’ worth of rent, the property owner/manager has the right to evict them with a three day notice. The notice will give the tenant a chance to either pay the rent, or vacate the property.

The second reason for eviction occurs when a violation of the signed lease has occurred. In this case, the tenant is given a written notice of seven days until they must leave the property.

As you very well know, the process of eviction is not always as easy as notifying the tenant and anticipating their departure. Often times, the eviction process becomes a battle between owner and tenant, and can turn into more trouble than originally anticipated. As the property manager, there are several things you can do to make the process easier. By preparing yourself with all necessary tools, anticipating difficulties, and hiring a professional team of lawyers and security to support you, you can make sure that the eviction process goes as smoothly as possible.

Before You Initiate An Eviction:

Make sure you have hired a real estate lawyer to guide you through the often confusing and complicated laws governing tenant and land owner rights and duties.

Be sure to collect as much evidence supporting your reasons to request the tenant’s eviction as possible. Have copies of all written documents. Take pictures of damages or lease violations. All of this proof will be absolutely essential should you choose to go ahead with the eviction process. You must have proof to show the court that the lease has been violated in some way. Without the proof, your argument against the tenant might not stand up in court and the tenant may win the case. Should this happen, the court may award your tenant the right to stay, and may fine the property owner heavily.

Things that Can Go Wrong:

The eviction process seldom goes as planned. Property owners rarely want to have to deal with evictions, and tenants certainly do not want to have to go through being evicted. Tension is high on both ends in almost every case. After the court has ruled that the tenant must vacate the property, there is hardly ever a smooth eviction. Often times, even if all rules are followed and every precaution has been taken, the tenant will refuse to leave the property.

How to Handle Difficult Evictions:

Should the tenant refuse to vacate, as the owner, you must be very careful. The rights of Tenants have “improved” greatly in the recent past. Under law, the owner of the property is not permitted to change locks, or withhold personal belongings from the tenants, even after the eviction has been granted. The evolution of renter’s rights is debatable to say the least; but it should be known that today, tenants have far greater rights than they did a few decades ago. Should a situation arise where your tenant is refusing to leave the property, or is making the eviction process difficult, law enforcement will be able to step in.

A police officer will be able to escort the tenant off the property and order them to move their belongings off the property. In many cases, the situation will require additional backup in the form of more security.  Sometimes hiring security is a decision that both parties make (often either agreeing to split the costs or one party agreeing to foot the bill) so that in case they do have to go to trial, the parties will have an impartial third party observer as a witness of events.

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