The eviction of a tenant is something all landlords would prefer to avoid. But in some cases, it is absolutely necessary. Landlords need to keep a clear policy and set of procedures that they follow in difficult situations with tenants. This will help to ensure they are being fair to their tenants and acting properly within the eyes of the law.
In extreme situations, legal advice might be necessary to help you navigate situations with tough tenants. But working with property management companies Atlanta is a great way to choose better renters, and also to head off any difficult interactions. Whether you're going it alone or not, keep reading to learn what you need to know about evicting tenants.
Thoroughly screen your tenants
This advice may come too late for landlords that are already attempting to evict their tenants. But it is something to remember for next time. It is always best to screen potential tenants so you can avoid any difficult legal situations. The screening process ensures that you can trust your tenants to pay rent on time and be respectful of your property and agreement. In screening, you can ask your tenants for their criminal history, personal or professional references, salary details, and credit verification.
Property management companies Atlanta are experts in screening tenants to choose the right people for your renters. They know the warning signs to watch for, which means avoiding tough situations before they ever have a chance to start.
Get to know your local eviction laws
The laws for eviction are slightly different in every state. Additional laws may also apply, like bans on evictions due to COVID-19. This should be considered before entering an agreement and should be incorporated into the contract. If your lease agreement doesn’t account for the local laws then you may face difficulties in an eviction case. You can check the particulars of your local landlord-tenant laws with the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. Or, check with your property management company to find out what laws you need to be aware of before launching an eviction.
Communicate with your tenant
Everyone prefers to avoid a legal battle. That's why it’s always best to see if you can calmly discuss matters and come to an agreement one-on-one. It may be a good idea to meet in a public place, such as a coffee shop, where you can talk away from the property in dispute.
In this situation, landlords should be good listeners that are ready to understand the difficult circumstances of their tenants. But they should also be firm in enforcing their terms of the agreement and clear about what could happen as a result of terms that are not met. Giving one renter a break or allowing them to pay late will likely turn into other renters wanting the same thing when word gets around.
Seek legal assistance
Unless you have a property management company in Atlanta on your side that is able to deal with all your legal matters, you will need to engage legal counsel to handle a dispute on your property. It is always necessary to deal with difficult issues through the correct channels or your case may be affected. Actions like turning off utilities, changing the locals, or moving possessions belonging to the tenant will not reflect well on a landlord in legal proceedings. If the tenant is at fault, then this should come to light without you needing to take any further action.
Give your tenant formal notice
When you have a valid reason for eviction, such as your tenant not paying rent or damaging your property, then you can serve them with a formal notice of eviction. This is a document that will give the reasons for the eviction and the actions they can take to prevent it. You will also need to give a date for eviction and the notice should be mailed to the address and attached to the front door. Finally, don't forget to check the number of days from which the eviction notice must be filed at the local court.
Dealing with the many steps of starting an eviction can be a headache, especially when you're managing other properties and renters. Property management companies Atlanta take over the tough tasks associated with handling your properties so that you don't have to.
Prepare for a court hearing
When you file your eviction at your local court you will need to pay a fee. Once you do that, your hearing date will be fixed and your tenant will receive a summons. You will need to prepare all of the documentation that gives evidence for the ways your tenant breached your agreement. This could include your lease agreement, messages between yourself and the tenant, and bank records. You should also be prepared for the claims your tenant is likely to make.
Evict your tenant
Assuming that the court decides in your favor, your tenant will be granted a certain amount of time in which to vacate the property. This period of time could be anywhere up to a week, depending on the state. In the event that your tenant fails to leave on time, they may need to be escorted by the police. This only happens in particular cases, but it is still a possibility.
Disgruntled tenants may not leave the property in the same condition it was in when they first moved in. Once your tenant has vacated, property management companies Atlanta will step in to assess the property and launch any necessary repair projects right away. This will help minimize your vacancy time after evicting a tough tenant.
Collect any outstanding rent payments
Once your tenant has been evicted, there may still be the task of collecting rent that has not been paid. In some cases, a small claims lawsuit can be dealt with together with the eviction, but this depends on the local court. You may need to file a separate claim for the outstanding amount. When this is decided in your favor, a court order can be given to your tenant’s employer to be taken from the tenant’s wages. Failing this, a private debt collector can be used to collect the outstanding rent payments from your tenant.
Evictions are not a pleasant experience for landlords or tenants, but sometimes they are the only option. Landlords should always be ready for this occurrence and follow the correct procedures. When you opt to bring on property management companies Atlanta, they not only guide you through complicated eviction processes but also help you screen tenants properly to hopefully avoid the same situation again in the future.