Shorten the Eviction Process

Your rental property investment has many great benefits, unless of course you’re having to start the eviction process. Added income, tax write-offs, building equity and a portfolio are just a few of the typical perks. When you’re a landlord, though, you know when you have tenant problems, those positives can break bad very quickly.

It’s not uncommon for problem tenants to cause serious damage to your rental property investment or fall behind on rent, leading you into an often messy and costly legal battle. The eviction process can easily take 3 months or longer with lost revenue and building expenses regarding damage to your rental property.

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Eviction Process Overview

Imagine this scenario for a moment… You have a problem tenant who has stopped paying their monthly rent of $1000 in January. They apologize when you call, explain some extenuating circumstance, and promise to pay by Monday. You wait a few days and hear nothing and decide to start the eviction process. You have an iron-clad lease compliant with landlord tenant laws that includes a standard state non-payment clause. Here’s what it will look like:

  1. Notice to Quit. You’ll file a 14 day notice to quit, which can only be served on weekdays. You can serve it yourself, in person, but if this goes to court, your best option is to pay a constable to deliver the notice as a neutral third party to verify that it was served in the proper manner to the proper individual.

  2. Notice of Eviction. You’ll send an official notice of eviction called a “summary process summons and complaint” when you have received no payment during the 14-day window. This time have no choice but to have the constable deliver it.

  3. Eviction Filing. Since your tenant still isn’t out, you’ll go to court to file papers. Of course, the law states that the eviction process must start on a Monday 7 to 30 days after the summons was served. If you served on a Tuesday, you’ll have to wait 13 days to file the paperwork for your “entry date.”

  4. Tenant Discovery Call. You could get a trial date within 2 weeks of entry, but with problem tenants, it’s safe to assume they will call for discovery. Doing so automatically delays things for at least another 2 weeks, and now, you need to hire an attorney.

  5. Mediation. Once a discovery request has been made, you can opt to enter mediation. This doesn’t often happen with tenants who refused to leave in the previous notice periods. Even if you do mediate, your tenant will likely make promises they can’t keep, and you’ll be doing this all over again, starting at step 1, in just a few months.

  6. Trial. Your trial is set another few weeks out. At this point, you’re two months of rent that would have been due while you were filing all this paperwork, as well as the rent payment you were overdue already, and all legal fees incurred to date.

  7. Appeal. Your tenant can appeal the court’s decision within 10 days. If they do, expect several more weeks of waiting, discovery, and possibly new trial dates.

  8. Motion for Execution. This is a formal motion filed with the courts that is required to enforce eviction and conclude the court portion of the eviction process. The motion can take several days to be granted, and you’ll need to hire a constable to deliver the notice.

  9. Final Notice. Your tenant will need to be served a 48-hour notice prior to the final eviction date. Again, you’ll be coordinating with the constable to deliver this notice.

  10. Final Eviction Day. You’ll show up at the house (legally only on Monday through Friday and never on a holiday) and you’ll need to bring a moving company, a sheriff or constable, and a locksmith or your handyman to replace the locks. You’ll also have to have a storage facility for the tenant’s property if they don’t have a new address.

 

When all is said and done, it’s been at least 4 months and at least $7,500 in costs and lost income from non-payment of rent. And that, of course, assumes that the courts weren’t overloaded and timelines delayed, and that you didn’t get stuck in a lousy mediation agreement.

Other Ways to Enforce Eviction

For many landlords, liquidating property with problem tenants is much more lucrative than going the traditional eviction process route. Not only will you make often hundreds of thousands of dollars in the sale of your rental property investment, but you’ll eliminate all expenses associated with the eviction process, including lost income, valuable time wasted that could be better spent looking at new investment properties, and even more importantly: stress. A cash buyer will assume the tenants, with all the legal fees they bring along, and take the entire situation off your hands.

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