Despite all the rewards, being a landlord often comes with lots of stress too. Sadly, thousands of property owners around the country are forced to deal with problem tenants every year. This begs the question of how you can legally evict – the last thing you want is a court case after evicting a tenant illegally.
How do you go about this process?
Lawful Reasons for Eviction
If you want to evict a problem tenant, the first thing to note is that you cannot use personal reasons as an excuse. Supporting different sports teams, for example, isn’t enough for an eviction. On a more serious note, you’ll need to read up on the state laws (as well as the guidelines in your tenant/landlord agreement).
Though each state and agreement differ, here are some of the most common reasons for legal eviction:
Firstly, you may be able to evict if there’s a health or safety violation (and if a fix is impossible with the tenant remaining inside). For example, you might find lead paint on the walls or asbestos in the insulation.
Secondly, you might learn that they have been using the property in a way that goes against the tenancy agreement. For example, this could be running a business. Not only would running a business void the tenancy agreement, but it’s also likely to go against zoning ordinances.
What does this mean? Well, the property isn’t designed for business use and therefore hasn’t been considered as such in terms of health and safety. As soon as somebody experiences an injury, the customer could seek damages from the business and the property owner (even if you’re unaware of the business activity!).
Why are the tenants causing problems? If it breaches the lease agreement, you have grounds for action. Having a trusted realtor in San Antonio, Texas manage this for you would be ideal, but if you are managing your own property, here is a helpful tip. For example, this could be sub-letting the apartment to other people, owning pets (despite the lease agreement making it clear that pets aren’t allowed), or failing to pay rent.
With this last point, you probably know as a landlord that you’re allowed to increase rent each year. Since a certain percentage is legal, the tenant must leave the property if they don’t accept the new price. If your tenant refuses to pay yet still resides in the property, you can proceed with an eviction.
Change of Plan
Please note that you can also evict problem tenants if you’re changing your life plans too. For instance, let’s say that all the stress with the problem tenant has eliminated your motivation to be a landlord. If you want to take the property off of the letting market, you can file for eviction – be sure to follow your state’s rules and regulations on this process. In California, the Ellis Act allows property owners to take their property off the market as long as they give sufficient warning to all tenants. If you do this, you can’t put it back onto the market for a prolonged period.
Elsewhere, you might decide to move into the property yourself. If you’re only letting an individual room, you might want to move a family member or friend into this room. Most states allow for this change and allow you to evict. If you evict using this method, you’ll need to actually move in and follow through with the plan.
To avoid legal troubles with problem tenants, make sure you file the right paperwork and follow the procedures properly. Even if you have to wait, it’s better than evicting illegally and getting drawn into legal battles.