Even after an eviction is ordered by the court, the correct steps need to be followed according to law.
The landlord cannot simply remove the tenant’s possessions, or change the locks. The landlord needs to take the court order to the sheriff, who then posts a notice to the tenant (usually on their door). The notice will explain that the tenant must move, and will clearly state the time they have to do so.
If the tenant does not move within that time, then the sheriff is the one who needs to remove the belongings from the rental unit, not the landlord.
Reduce the possibility of late or non-payment of rents and disputed deposits with effective tenant screening
from E-Renter USA
Landlords have many tools to help manage properties; tools for maintaining both buildings and landscaping, tools for marketing their properties to new tenants, etc.
An often overlooked tool in the landlord arsenal is effective tenant screening. Comprehensive tenant screening can help you protect your property and your income by selecting tenants who are more likely to stay for longer, pay more promptly, and take better care of your valuable investment. You will attract better tenants, and they will be happier, because they will feel safer knowing that their neighbors were also screened.
As regulations are put into place to decrease fraud and to protect individual privacy, it is becoming more and more difficult for landlords to complete critical and effective tenant screening. Even property management companies can have difficulty keeping staff trained and implementing procedures to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
A good alternative is using a professional tenant screening service. It’s important, also, to be sure that the service you choose is reliable, accredited, FCRA trained and compliant, and has proper security measures in place.
Also review the information provided to you in a tenant background search to make sure it covers all the information you need.
Even if you are a landlord who likes to talk to people and get to know them before renting to them, be sure you get proper identification from all applying tenants as well. Good identification is crucial if you expect to do a thorough job of tenant screening, and is important for your records on tenants as well.
What makes good identification?
- A current driver’s license, instruction permit, or state-issued identification card is a great start.
- If they don’t have one of those, get two other documents showing full name, date of birth. It’s best if at least one document has a photograph.
- A passport is always excellent identification.
Make Sure Names Match
If names don’t match, request proof of name changes, such as certified marriage license, divorce decree, or other court order. These documents should show a clear link between names.
Also be sure to check spelling on the documents, and compare all information with that on their rental application. If there are any differences, ask for an explanation.
If a situation with a tenant can’t be resolved without legal action, and after the proper notices are given and time periods according to state law have passed, a landlord may then file an eviction lawsuit with the court. This is a process that takes care and attention to detail, and is probably best handled by an attorney.
Filing Eviction Documents
- The landlord files the correct eviction papers with the court
- Proper documents are delivered (served) to the tenant according to the law
- In most areas, the tenant then has a chance to answer
- The time allowed for the tenant to answer will be stated in the law, and varies according to the state and the reason for eviction.
- The tenant’s answer must be in the proper format according to the law, and they may choose to also hire an attorney to prepare those documents.
- They may raise a defense that they should not be evicted, and stating the reason.
- If the tenant does not answer, the court will enter a default judgment for eviction (as long as the landlord can show that the court papers were properly served on the tenant).
- A tenant may request that default judgment be set aside, if they can prove a good reason why they did not answer within the time period allowed.
Court Hearing or Trial
- If the tenant raises a valid defense, the case will be set for a hearing or trial based on the facts.
- The landlord will need to produce all the evidence showing the reasons for the eviction.
- The court will then rule whether the tenant should be evicted.
Protect yourself from lawsuits with effective tenant screening
and background checks from E-Renter USA
Don’t be too eager to just fill that vacancy. Great tenants make the landlord experience not only more rewarding, but much more profitable. Great tenants will stay longer (so less time between renters), pay more promptly, and take better care of your investment.
Make sure you:
- review a tenant’s application
- do a background search and check tenant credit
- check references and previous landlords
- take some time to talk to the tenant and be clear about expectations on both sides
You may wish to consider hiring a property management company to do many of these things, but if you do you will still need to make sure you clearly communicate to them what your own expectations are for the kind of tenants they place in your property.
Whether you hire it done, or do it yourself, you want great tenants, not just any tenants!
Each of the three national credit bureaus have slightly different requirements for qualification to receive credit reports on tenant applicants, but the essential elements are similar.
- Any company who wants to continue to receive applicants’ actual credit reports and FICO scores must have an inspection of the office where those reports are accessed and stored. Each of the credit bureaus requires that inspection be performed by an approved third party. The details of the inspection can be provided by the company who will be performing the inspection, but include proper security of files and verification of the type of business being conducted at that location.
- Additionally, it is now required that customers requesting credit reports provide identification and proof of property ownership.
The length of time it takes to evict a tenant varies according to the state, and the reason for the eviction. Each state will specify the length of time a landlord is required to allow the tenant to correct the problem (pay back rent, remove the pet from the property, etc.).
It is also important that all the procedures that are outlined in the law are followed very carefully. Small mistakes in paperwork can often mean lengthy and costly delays, including having the case thrown out and needing to begin again. It’s wise to consider the use of an attorney in the eviction process.
The entire process can take as little as 20 days, or as long as several months.
While good, old-fashioned yard or window signs are still effective, most property owners (and property management companies) have moved away from printed advertising and toward often-free online rental property advertising, such as Craigslist or other local online advertising services.
Besides being free, most of these let you upload photos of the property so potential renters can preview the property before they take up your time to show the property.
Be sure you review the Fair Housing laws before you write your ad. A simple phrase like ‘perfect for young couple’ can put you at risk for being accused of discrimination!
Effective tenant screening is another important tool for landlords. Visit E-Renter USA
for tenant screening and background check
One of the basic requirements of the Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA) is that credit-reporting agencies and tenant-screening companies make an effort to know that those who purchase credit reports have a legitimate purpose to do so.
At the beginning of 2007, the Credit Bureaus put into place their own, more stringent, regulations to insure that anyone ordering a credit report has a legal right to do so. These new regulations are intended to help fight identity theft and credit fraud.
The tenant screening industry has a responsibility to enforce these new rules by qualifying customers. These new rules apply only to credit reports (other screening reports are still available).