Ousting a Bad Tenant From Your Rental Property

How to get rid of that renter costing you time and money

Successfully managing your real estate investments includes filling them with good tenants. Unfortunately, if you've been investing in rental properties long enough, the odds rise that one of your tenants is going to turn out to be a dud. That's life.

So how can you make that problem go away? When you first realize you have a bad tenant, you need to stay calm and go slowly. Tenants have rights and you must respect those if you want this issue to resolve itself in an orderly fashion. Every jurisdiction has its own laws regarding eviction, so be sure to understand them fully before taking any drastic steps.

When a problem occurs, it's important to deal with it immediately. The lease your tenant signs should clearly indicate the prohibited activities in the unit and the fees payable for late rent payments, etc. A lease should protect all parties in the rental property agreement, which includes not only the landlord and the tenant in question, but the other tenants in the building as well.

Most leases include a "peace and quiet" clause to ensure that all tenants keep the noise to a reasonable level so as not to disturb people. More often, tenant problems involve late rent or bounced checks. When occupants don't make good on their rent, it's important to see them right away to work out a plan of payment. Most landlords understand that people experience hardship every now and then. By meeting the tenant more than halfway, they'll be quicker to pay their overdue rent and any late fees that may be applicable.

However, for those few irresponsible tenants, eviction is the only solution. It makes sense to see a landlord-tenant attorney about making the problem go away, especially if you're new to rental property investments and don't know your way around the legal system. Generally, if a tenant hasn't been cooperative and you do have to go the eviction route, the first step is to provide them with a notice to pay their rent or get out. Every state's laws are different, but the tenant usually has between three and five days to pay up. If they don't pay, the landlord should undertake court proceedings to remove the tenant from the residence.

Moving through the courts and ultimately having the renter removed from the premises is a time-consuming process. It's not something you want to do on a regular basis, but sometimes it's the only way to eliminate the problem. In the cases where eviction is necessary, do everything in your power to avoid confrontation with the occupant. The last thing you need is your property trashed by an angry tenant.

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