Can I Take Action to Force a Tenant Out of My Property for Non-Payment?

Posted by Teresa on November 12, 2008 under Landlord and Tenant FAQs | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

The only legal eviction action you can take is to follow the steps outlined in the laws and regulations governing eviction where your property is located.

When you aren’t able to resolve a situation with a tenant, it can be very tempting to take action yourself. But trying to force a tenant out by turning of power, changing locks, or even removing their possessions can have serious consequences!

You could find yourself on the losing side of a lawsuit, and end up owing the tenant money. It’s much wiser to be patient, and follow the process of the law to evict a troublesome tenant.

Rules, Rules, Rules

Posted by Teresa on November 10, 2008 under Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

When creating rules for tenants in your rental properties, keep these things in mind:

  • You want your tenants to enjoy living in your property
  • You also need to protect yourself.
  • Make sure your rules are clearly-written.
  • Make sure you use language that does not discriminate based on age or gender.
  • Be sure to review your state’s laws when creating your rules.

A good set of rules will help accomplish all your goals, as well as save you time and money.

Using the Rules

  • Make sure that each tenant signs a copy of the rules, or a statement that they received and reviewed the rules.
  • Be sure to keep a complete record of any behavior that is against the rules, including time and date of the incident and how you found out about the incident.

Keeping records makes it far easier if you ever do need to act because of a problem.

Use a Move-In/Out Checklist

Posted by Teresa on November 8, 2008 under Eviction, Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

While few of us want more paperwork in our lives, using a good move-in/move-out checklist for every tenant in every property can save lots of trouble in the long term.

If you’ve ever been a tenant, you’ve most likely participated in the checklist process. Most tenants are happy to take part, since it protects them as well as you from misunderstanding when they move out.

Additionally, if tenants know that there is a clear record of the property condition when they move in, they are often more careful to take care of the property during their stay.

The checklist should:

  • be well-organized into rooms
  • include list of all furniture (if included) and appliances
  • be completed with both the landlord and tenant present
  • be signed by both landlord and tenant

A copy of the checklist should be kept by both landlord and tenant.

Link to Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Text

Posted by Teresa on November 6, 2008 under FCRA Issues | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

Read the complete text of the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) here:

You can increase your assurance of FCRA compliance by using tenant screening services from E-Renter USA.

Get It in Writing

Posted by Teresa on November 5, 2008 under Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

Even if you happen to rent to friends, be sure to get everything you agree to in writing. Worst case, you’ll be sure you are protected if something goes wrong. It’s important, also, just so that there are no misunderstandings down the road!

What to Include in Your Lease
Your lease or other documentation should include:

  • names of everyone living in the property
  • rules regarding who is responsible for all repairs and maintenance and how quickly those are taken care of
  • notice required for you to visit the property
  • all deposits and fees and what those cover
  • the rental amount
  • length of the contract

Check the Laws
You might also want to check with your attorney to be sure about the laws in your state and include any special situations in your lease.

Eviction Defenses

Posted by Teresa on under Eviction | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

There are several defenses a tenant can raise to stop from being evicted from your property.  Knowing this information can help you take the right steps when you need to evict, or help you to know if you are likely to be able to evict the tenant!

The laws vary according to the state, but these are the common defenses in eviction in most areas:

  • Probably the most common defense is that the landlord failed to give proper notice, either in the form of the documents, the method they were delivered, or the times given to the tenant. This defense doesn’t mean you can’t evict, but you’ll need to start the process over from the beginning.
  • Accepting partial rent from a tenant may be a defense against eviction, at least for that rental period. If you want to accept partial rent, check your state’s laws.
  • Failure to keep the rental property well maintained is another common defense against eviction. Again, check your state’s laws to determine how this is handled in your location.
  • Other defenses against eviction are claims that you, as landlord, are retaliating against a tenant for acting as an activist regarding code violations or property conditions, for the property being uninhabitable, or for Fair Housing Act violations.

Be sure you know your state’s laws!

Communicate With Your Tenants

Posted by Teresa on November 4, 2008 under Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

Great communication with your tenants will have multiple paybacks.

Begin by talking with applicants, getting to know them a little bit. This will help you choose the best tenant, and also have an idea of their plans for how long they might stay in your property.

After you sign a lease, stay in touch. You don’t need to go overboard, but touch base every few months if you don’t have regular contact for some other reason (such as receiving rent). A simple phone call or email to make sure they are happy, or ask if there is anything that needs taken care of, goes a long way towards creating a good relationship.

If tenants feel you are taking care of them, they are much more likely to take care of your investment. They will also be much more likely to notify you in advance of any plans they have to move from your property, and give you plenty of time to plan.