Dealing with bad tenants is something every landlord will have to do at some point in the real estate investing career. However, it's important to follow the legal eviction process to avoid causing more problems for your rental properties and income. If not handled correctly, investors can face counter-lawsuits, fines, or the loss of the properties.
The best property management company Atlanta, GA, offers can help property owners steer clear of legal problems when removing a renter from a rental unit. They can also support landlords find the best tenants to avoid evictions again. This blog post will tackle a list of common eviction mistakes a property owner should avoid!
What is an Eviction?
Most experienced landlords have been through at least one eviction in their rental property career. Eviction is a legal process where a property owner asks a court to order a tenant to leave a property. If the tenant doesn't comply with the court's order, law enforcement can forcibly remove them from the rental property. Eviction takes place when a renter fails to pay rent or otherwise violates the lease agreement.
What's the Legal Eviction Process?
To protect themselves from counter lawsuits, property owners should be familiar with the proper steps of the process. A property manager can assist Atlanta real estate investors every step of the way to avoid costly mistakes. A property owner should also partner with an eviction attorney to ensure a successful tenant removal.
Start By Serving a Notice
The first step involves delivering the proper notice. This notice lets the renter know they have violated the lease. If a tenant doesn't respond to this initial notice, the landlord can serve the tenant a 30-day notice, giving the tenant 30 days to vacate the property. If the resident doesn't leave within 30 days, the property owner can file an unlawful detainer lawsuit with the court.
Attend the Court Hearing
Once a hearing date is set, the landlord and the tenant present their cases to the judge. The judge will rule for the renter or the property owner. If the resident wins, they can remain in the property. If the property owner wins the case, the tenant must move out.
Work With Law Enforcement To Remove the Tenant
After the judge's ruling, the tenant can move out voluntarily. If they don't, a rental owner can then hire a law enforcement official to force them out and remove the tenant's property. After the resident's possessions are gone, the process for finding a new tenant can start (including a tenant screening to avoid another eviction).
What Eviction Mistakes Should Rental Property Owners Avoid?
As you can see, the eviction process has several necessary steps, and it can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months to move through this legal process. However, getting impatient and trying to rush a tenant (or intimidate them) out of your property can lead to severe consequences.
If you handle an eviction in the wrong way, you could lose your ability to own rental properties in the area. A property management company can help you avoid these common mistakes when removing a renter:
- Not giving proper notice. One of the easiest mistakes to make is failing to provide an appropriate eviction notice before eviction proceedings start. Property owners will quickly find that there are different written notices for various situations, and it's critical to use the right one to start the process.
- Trying a DIY eviction. A property owner makes a significant mistake if they try to "evict" a tenant by making threats, changing the locks without notice, intimidating the tenant, or making living conditions unbearable to force them out. To take some of the emotional factors out of the eviction process, consider hiring residential property managers to do it for you.
- Lacking a valid reason to evict. You may not "like" the tenant, but that is not a valid reason for eviction. Ensure you have a legally valid reason for evicting a tenant before you even hand out a notice.
The biggest mistake more property owners make is trying to navigate an eviction without an eviction attorney or a residential property management company. These professionals are well-versed in landlord-tenant law and are there to keep you from making mistakes or losing your case to remove a renter.
Avoid Mistakes by Partnering With an Atlanta Property Management Company
While we hope you find the information in this blog helpful, it's no substitute for legal advice from a reputable eviction attorney. Eviction proceedings are complex and can lead to counter lawsuits if not handled properly. To protect yourself from costly mistakes, partner with an Atlanta property management company and a lawyer to handle your evictions for you.
Compass Property Management has years of experience dealing with difficult tenants and eviction. Let us help you avoid bad renters with our property management services, including our tenant screening process. Reach out soon to learn more about how we manage tenants.
To learn more about handling evictions the right way, download our free Tenant Eviction Checklist!