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Achieving a Successful Eviction

An Envelope with an “Eviction Notice” StampMost Liberty Lake property owners find evictions to be time-consuming and detrimental to monthly cash flows, so it is good to avoid them if you can. But if you are not able to settle your dispute directly with your tenant, it might be a good idea to get the eviction process started. Here are some tips for a successful eviction.

Contrary to what many people believe, eviction isn’t the forcing of a tenant of the leased property. Rather, an eviction is a legal process by which a landlord or property owner regains possession of (or full legal rights to) the property. When you lease a property to a tenant, the lease documents legally assign both rights and responsibilities to you and your tenant. It is a legal contract. To have the contract voided, the tenant must voluntarily leave, or else a legal process will be required.

The primary step of any eviction process is to understand the local Landlord/Tenant laws. While some federal laws apply to all situations, there are also different state and even local laws that you need to know. Not following all of the relevant laws could be a reason that your eviction will fail. For example, you will need to know how much advance notice you are required to give your tenant to remedy the lease violation, how long the grace period is for late payments, how many days you should give your tenant to vacate the property, and so on.

When you know how the law applies to you, the next step is to give your tenant a Pay or Quit or Notice of Lease Violation. This document will be your official notice to your tenant informing them that they are in violation of the lease. The document should also contain instructions the tenant can follow to be in compliance with the lease once more. Some states require this to be sent via certified mail or might require a different delivery method. See to it that any stated actions or remedies follow all time periods required by law as well.

What if, despite the notice, the tenant does not respond or is still unwilling to return to compliance with their lease terms? Then your next step is to document all legal grounds for eviction and file a Forcible Detainer with the local court. Depending on where your rental property is, the required documents might include both an Eviction Complaint and a Summons, both of which outline your case for eviction and inform the tenant of the action filed against them. You must file your form with the court and serve them to your tenant, either in person or by using the delivery method required by law.

After you have filed a Forcible Detainer, the court will consider your case for eviction and issue a ruling. If the judge rules in your favor, they may also include instructions for the forcible removal of the tenant from the property, if required. Remember that you cannot evict a tenant who is unwilling to vacate the property if you do not have a judgment from the court.

Although the judgment is the legal end of the eviction process, for landlords, the final step is overseeing the removal of the tenant and their belongings from the property. In a lot of states, a landlord can ask for the assistance of the local police, constable, or sheriff’s department for the removal of a tenant. Intimidation or harassment of a tenant is illegal in every state, and even a landlord with an eviction judgment in hand cannot do this. There are different laws in each state about how to handle the removal of a tenant and their personal belongings, so make sure to follow your area laws when you do so. You could be sued if you violate a tenant’s rights, even after a legal eviction. This could delay or even overturn your eviction judgment.

A successful eviction is an eviction that is legal and has been carefully documented and handled right from the start. But evictions are also very sensitive matters that require a lot of time as well as detailed knowledge of tenant-landlord laws. Why not let the Liberty Lake property management pros at Real Property Management Spokane County handle your eviction for you instead? Contact us online or call 509-462-1042to learn more.

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