As a landlord, you’re bound to deal with at least one bad tenant. Eviction is the most complicated and stressful task for even the most experienced landlord — and not to mention expensive. After successfully evicting a tenant, you can’t just fill your property with new renters. In most cases, you will have to conduct repairs, change the locks, and much more.
Because evicting tenants is such an exhausting process, we’ll share with you how you can prevent evictions in the first place. Plus, you’ll also find out the steps you need to take after every eviction — and hopefully, you’ll only have to do them once!
How to Prevent Evictions in the First Place
#1 Screen Tenants Properly
The best way to avoid going through all the trouble of evicting a tenant is by screening them properly. It’s better to reject dozens of applications than to evict a tenant months into their lease. This includes asking important questions to determine whether the applicant is responsible enough to live on your property. Conduct a thorough background check on all of your potential tenants, and look into their credit score, rental history, employment, and much more. You should consider pros and cons of hiring a property manager to handle the entire screening process.
#2 Stay on Top of Repairs
A well-kept property won’t just attract the most qualified tenants — it will also encourage them to follow the rules. Keeping tenants happy can reduce the risk of evictions as they are more likely to pay rent on time, abide by the terms of the lease, etc. Stay on top of scheduled maintenance for all of your properties, and be sure to address repair requests as quickly as possible. This shows your tenants your genuine concern for their comfort and well-being.
#3 Talk to Your Tenants
The key to a good relationship is strong communication. As the landlord, it’s your responsibility to listen to your tenants. Whether they want to report another tenant’s misdemeanor or they want to suggest home improvements, tenants shouldn’t be reluctant to raise these matters to their landlord. Tenants who feel ignored are less likely to care about the property, which is why you should provide a convenient and comfortable way for tenants to communicate their concerns.
5 Things to Do After Evicting a Tenant
#1 Change the Locks
The first thing you should do the moment your tenant vacates the property is to change all of the locks. Many tenants make duplicates of their keys — usually without telling their landlord. If you don’t change the locks immediately, your tenant may attempt to enter the property when you aren’t there. You will also be putting your future renters’ lives at risk if you don’t ensure that strangers have no access. However, don’t forget that you should change the locks only when the court has granted the eviction. It’s illegal to ban a tenant from entering the property before the eviction process has even started.
#2 Inspect the Property for Damage
Some tenants will intentionally damage the property once they’ve received the eviction notice. This is especially true when the landlord-tenant relationship has been strained for quite some time. It’s important to check the property for damage once the tenant leaves, as this is how you can calculate how much should be deducted from their security deposit.
#3 Repair and Clean the Property
Wear and tear are expected in any rental property. However, evictions usually involve more repairs than usual, especially if the tenant was evicted due to property damage. Before you can lease the property to new renters, you need to ensure that it satisfies certain standards of habitability. You may need to hire contractors and professional cleaners to bring your property back to its original condition.
#4 Inspect the Rental Unit
Once the repairs have been completed, the last thing to do is to thoroughly inspect the rental unit. Make sure that everything is functioning as it should, including all appliances, light fixtures, plumbing systems, and more. The property inspection should involve proper documentation using photos and videos. This will keep future tenants satisfied, and hopefully prevent complaints and evictions.
#5 Start Looking for New Tenants
It’s best to start looking for replacement tenants the moment the eviction has been finalized. This reduces the amount of time your property is left unoccupied once it is ready to receive new tenants. A vacant property is an unprofitable property, so start the tenant selection process as soon as possible!
Don’t Make These Common Eviction Mistakes
#1 Illegal Eviction
Eviction is an expensive legal process that often tempts landlords to take matters into their own hands. As a result, some landlords force tenants out of the property through intimidation or by making their living conditions unbearable. There have been landlords who’ve cut off their tenant’s utilities, threw their belongings out into the lawn, changed the locks on the doors without the tenant’s knowledge, etc. No matter how frustrating your tenant might be, it’s crucial to follow your state’s rules on eviction. This means going through the entire eviction process, regardless of how long it may take.
#2 Not Giving Notice
You can’t just evict a tenant whenever you want to. Before filing for an eviction, you must present your tenant with a Notice to Quit — in most states, this should be given three days prior. The notice informs your tenant of the reasons why you’re evicting them, such as illegal use of property, failure to pay rent, safety violations, landlord move-in, and many more. Remember, the eviction process won’t start unless you have given your tenant a Notice to Quit.
#3 Lack of Evidence
If you’re trying to evict a tenant because they refused to pay rent for several months, you need to present relevant documentation that supports your claim. This may include bank statements, late payment notices, etc. Similarly, if you’re trying to evict a tenant because they damaged your property, you must present pictures as evidence. This also includes any photos, videos, and reports taken during the move-in inspection.
Evicting a tenant can demand most of your time. From preparing documentary evidence to attending court hearings, it can force you to abandon other aspects of property management, which can be challenging especially if you’re managing multiple properties.
Hiring a property management firm can ease the burden. At Luxury Property Care, we have an in-house legal team that can guide you through the eviction process. Our property managers are also prepared to handle property inspections, oversee repairs, and so on.