Checklist For Tenant Eviction

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on August 21, 2006 under Eviction | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

Tenant eviction is never a pleasant chore; nevertheless, it has to be done, when necessary. If all options have been exhausted and the only one left is to evict a tenant, take the following set of specific steps to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Documentation should be in order. Before you can evict a tenant, there must be enough documentation showing why the eviction is necessary. In case, the tenant contests the eviction, or refuses to leave, or even tries to sue you for discrimination or claims it is retaliatory eviction, you will thank your lucky stars, you chose to keep a record of documentary evidence. What is required is a tenant’s initial rental application, signed rental agreement, as well as, a record of incidents; your decision to evict the tenant is based on. For example, if the tenant repeatedly violated the building rules or breached the lease, you should have recorded proof of each violation. If the tenant does not pay rent on time or stops paying it, completely, all this should be on record.

Clearly state your reason for evicting the tenant in the eviction notice. A landlord must clearly state the reasons that have led him / her to decide to evict the tenant. At least, two copies of the notice should be made i.e. one for the tenant and one for your records.

Inspect your property on a frequent basis. A vindictive tenant may trash the rental unit, simply to get back at a landlord for wanting to evict him / her. Therefore, it is important before the tenant leaves, a walk through the property is scheduled with the tenant. A minimum of 24-hours notice has to be issued before the walk through can be performed. While, doing so take careful notes regarding the condition of the unit and, if possible, take pictures of its current state. This way, if necessary, you can withhold the tenant’s security deposit for damages if any, when a tenant is evicted.

Returning the tenant’s security deposit. If your rental property has been damaged, or a tenant owes back rent, they automatically forfeit their security deposit. Always, include a provision in your rental agreements relating to the fate of security deposits, if any of the above events take place.

Police presence when serving notice to evict. If a landlord feels the situation could turn ugly when serving a tenant an eviction notice, the local police department can be involved at the time of serving it, ensuring both parties feel protected.

Has the required notice time been given before eviction proceedings take place? Varying from state to state, the accepted time period is 30-days from the date of the eviction notice to the last day of occupancy. However, certain states ask only for a 72-hour notice in case of non-payment of rent. State laws should be checked out before serving an eviction notice to ensure you comply with them.

Eviction notices must comply with state and local laws. Draft all notices, including eviction notices as required by law. If the notice doesn’t comply with the state law, it could invalidate your eviction attempt.

Post eviction walk through. Perform a walk through of your property once the tenant has vacated it. Compare notes and match pictures taken to determine the extent of damage, if any, and any other changes to the property since your last walk through.

Ensure all the above information is included in your documentation. Don’t stop keeping records on an evicted tenant. Add a copy of the eviction notice, walkthrough checklists and pictures, including any other pertinent information. All this could prove useful in the event a tenant tries to make a delayed claim for wrongful eviction. Keep this documentation for at least a minimum of three years to play it safe.

If an eviction is organized well, there will be less stress for everyone involved. It may be difficult for you as a landlord, but remember it is just as tough for the tenant. Evicted tenants have been known to react adversely and a landlord must take necessary steps to protect his / her interests and property.

Further, what comes first is the selection of suitable tenants for your property. Getting relevant information on rental application forms will assist you in screening prospective tenants, tenants who will respect, maintain and limit damage to only wear and tear of your property. For help in suitable tenant selection, visit for tenant screening and background check services, the best and only way to prevent expensive litigation, penalty charges or property damage.

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