Evicting your tenant may appear the simplest and quickest solution, but let’s be honest: no one wants to be that landlord! Furthermore, mailing a “cure or quit” notice can cost you a considerable money. And there’s no guarantee you’ll fill the position soon.
Before proceeding with the eviction, you should examine the costs involved. Court fees are frequently the least of your concerns. You still owe money on your mortgage, past-due rent, property turnover expenses, and potential damages. The locksmith alone could cost you $150. An eviction can cost roughly $3,500 in three to four weeks.
How long does a typical eviction take? If there are no delays, the eviction process can take five weeks to three months. Any setbacks in the procedure could cause the eviction to be delayed for up to 12 months. The difficulties do not end there. The renter has one to four weeks under the law to evacuate after receiving a notice to quit. Even so, you may have to pay a sheriff to have them removed forcibly.
Let’s take a closer look at evicting a tenant to understand why it’s not always the smartest and most cost-effective alternative.
Stages of the Summary Process
The legal system differs from one state to the next. However, the standard procedure entails sending a “pay or quit” notice or a notice to vacate, followed by applying for eviction. The eviction takes place after the judge makes a ruling.
The first round of eviction proceedings is usually initiated when a tenant fails to pay the monthly rent or you have evidence of a lease breach. You issue a notice to pay past-due rent or vacate the rented unit. This serves as a constant reminder of the outstanding debt or lease violation. You are required by law to give the tenants time to address or cure the problem.
If the problem is not resolved, you can file a formal eviction lawsuit in your local court. But keep in mind that it is illegal to carry out a self-help eviction without a judge’s official eviction order.
After filing the proper eviction paperwork, you and the tenant will have to appear before a judge and plead your case. If the judge rules in your favor, you will be able to take legal action to evict the tenant from your rental apartment.
Remember that during the COVID-19 epidemic, the eviction moratorium prohibited landlords from evicting renters for nonpayment of rent. The moratorium on evictions, however, did not absolve renters of their obligation to pay rent. They are still obligated to pay their past-due rent.
Nonetheless, given the costs and mental hardship of evicting a tenant, a fair, if not a good, landlord will do everything in their ability to help address the issue outside of the courts.
6 Strategies for Landlords to Help Tenants Avoid Eviction
1. Set clear rules in the lease
The most common basis for serving an eviction notice is past due rent, but it is not the only one. Some of the most common issues landlords face with tenants are property damage, bothersome or even deadly pets, and noise concerns.
Always be open and honest about the main principles of leasing your home. Include these regulations in the lease agreement and go over them with tenants before signing it. Also, be precise about what constitutes property damage and whether they are liable for repairs or repair costs.
2. Encourage communication about financial problems
When a renter is honest about their financial issues, landlords are more ready to engage with them to solve their problems. While this is the duty of the tenant, you should encourage open and honest communication so that the tenant feels comfortable approaching you.
Of course, you don’t want to be perceived as a squeamish landlord who allows late payments. You must also treat all tenants consistently. You can, however, urge tenants to notify you as soon as they begin to have financial difficulties.
Encourage them, for example, to notify you if their work position changes. This should make them feel more at ease talking to you about a potentially embarrassing topic.
3. Negotiate before a past due rent notice
There are various negotiation techniques, and it all depends on your outcome. Some tenants face temporary financial difficulties. As a result, there may be alternatives to eviction to resolve the situation. It may be worth foregoing some income to keep a good tenant if they have a proven track record.
With the subject “how long does an eviction take” on your mind, you’re making mental summaries of the process. If the risk is in the thousands, wouldn’t it be wiser to work out a repayment plan, especially if the tenant has had a difficult time and is now getting back on their feet? Consider how this would help your reputation as a great landlord. Other alternatives include canceling a portion or all of the debt if the tenant agrees to leave immediately.
4. Offer incentives before a notice to quit
One of the most common eviction alternatives is “cash for keys.” Paying a non-paying delinquent tenant to get your keys back is ironic. However, getting them out quickly may be less expensive and faster than a costly eviction lawsuit.
In most cases, you pay half or an entire month’s rent plus the security deposit for your keys (and a quick escape). This is frequently less than the eviction procedure. Another simple solution is to offer them moving assistance. Moving charges can frequently exceed hundreds of dollars. You still have to pay for your time, but it is usually less uncomfortable than paying cash.
5. Connect tenants with social support services
Government entities can be difficult to navigate. Despite the fact that assistance is available, tenants may be unaware of how to obtain financial assistance. Making these connections is the ultimate landlord kindness.
Most states have various renter assistance or support programs. Connecting eligible renters to services such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enables tenants to discover if they qualify for such assistance and local organizations that provide assistance.
6. Inform tenants that you will report them to credit bureaus
When all other alternatives have been explored, one choice is to report the tenant to credit bureaus. You must usually wait 30 days following a late payment. However, their credit score suffering could help them obtain the rent money faster.
The screening process includes checking a prospective tenant’s rental history and credit score. As a result, a tenant understands that a poor credit score may affect prospects of renting a house, applying for credit, or receiving a mortgage. A tenant’s credit score will be lowered if they are reported for delinquent rent. Knowing this, the fear of reporting a tenant may be sufficient to persuade them to take one of your more lenient offers.
You should be able to reduce the number and expense of evictions by using these six techniques. While not all problems can be resolved using the abovementioned procedures, they are far superior to the arduous eviction process.
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