≡ Menu

How to Evict a Tenant: The Essential Guide to Evicting Someone From Your Rental Property

You’ve inherited a property that you’re not doing much with so you decided to go through the legal means to rent it out. One of your friends is down on their luck so you tell them about the place and allow them to move in. Everything is going great until the first of the month comes along and they don’t pay their rent.

You let it slide this time but it keeps happening. It sounds like it’s time for you to look into how to evict a tenant. As much as you don’t want to toss your friend out, you need someone living there who’s going to pay.

We can help you get through this troubling task as smoothly as possible. Check out this quick eviction guide to learn more.

Familiarize Yourself with the Eviction Laws in Your State 

Before you begin the process, it’s important to note that every state has its eviction laws. You’ll need to read up on them if you want to serve a formal eviction notice to your tenant. 

Many states use something called the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act to determine all the legalities of eviction. Read this instead of taking matters into your own hands. 

If you change the locks on the tenant’s property, throw their things out on the lawn, forcibly pull the tenant out of the property, or harass the tenant, your eviction will serve no weight because those actions are illegal in every single state. You’ve got to follow the rules even if the tenant has wrecked the place. 

You’ll Need a Valid Reason to Evict 

You won’t win your eviction case if you don’t have a good enough reason to kick the tenant out. “I don’t like them” is not a good enough reason. 

They have to have failed to pay rent on multiple occasions, broke the lease by say, having a dog even though you have a no pet policy written into the contract, or caused a bunch of damage to the property. 

Whatever your reason for eviction is, you’ll need written documents showing proof of their misdeeds. 

Have a Little One on One Chat with the Tenant 

Once you’re sure that you have a valid case, it’s time for one of the hardest steps to eviction. Having a chat with the tenant. Who knows, having the conversation may prompt them to remedy the situation so you no longer have to kick them out. 

The best thing you can do is be direct in your reasoning to evict but also be sympathetic if at all possible. If you can, take them to a public place to talk. An argument is less likely to break out if you’re in a coffee shop vs. if you’re in their home. 

Hand Out the Eviction Notice 

Even after talking to the tenant, they still won’t pay their rent or fix their behavior, it’s time to write up the eviction notice. The document should tell the resident why they are being removed from the property clearly and concisely. 

It should also include the date in which you’ll be acting on the eviction. If they have any past-due rent on their account, the notice should list that in case they do want to pay in full and avoid eviction. 

If you get a little lost on what to write down, there are plenty of state-certified eviction templates that you can pull from to use as a guideline.  

File the Notice 

You’ve served the notice but that’s not enough. You’ve got to file it with your local courthouse. Once you pay the fee, you’ll be given a date for the hearing. 

They’re even nice enough to let the tenant know when the hearing is taking place too so you won’t have to interact with them again until the court date. 

Preparing for the Court Hearing 

Before the day of the hearing, you’ll have to gather up all the evidence you have against the tenant. You should also consider hiring eviction services

They can help you get through all the court prep stuff and take the stress off of you. They’ll even attend the hearing with you and ensure the rest of the process goes as smoothly as possible. 

Kick the Tenant to the Curb

If you win the case, your tenant will be given a date to vacate the property. There are times when a tenant will refuse to leave the home. If they begin to argue or cause drama of any kind, you can’t touch them yourself but you are entitled to reach out to your local police department. 

They do have the power to force the tenant to leave and move all of their belongings outside. 

Collect Any Past-Due Rent if Applicable 

In some states, you’re allowed to make a small claim lawsuit at the same time as the eviction. This will allow you to collect any past-due rent that the tenant owes you. 

This money will be given to you in one of three ways. Their employer may be given a notice to garnish the employee’s wages and give part of what they earned to you. When they file their taxes, some of their refund cheques may be taken from them and handed to you as well.

You can also reach out to a debt collector. They’ll do what they can to help you get paid and they’ll file a report with a credit bureau so future landlords will learn of this situation when the tenant tries to rent another property.  

Now You Know How to Evict a Tenant Who Won’t Pay Their Rent

It’s never easy to kick out a tenant, especially if they were a friend. Still, sometimes it can’t be helped if they’re destroying the property or won’t pay their rent. Do your research on how to evict a tenant in your state and get rid of the problematic resident the legal way. 

Being a tenant isn’t easy. We can make it better. Check out our blog daily for all the latest business tips.