Five Steps To Avoid Illegally Evicting Your Tenants

Updated: Jun 7, 2020


By Nathan Miller | July 25, 2018

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One of the biggest risks related to owning investment properties is dealing with an eviction. If a tenant doesn’t pay rent, the simple answer is to evict him.


To a seasoned investor, however, it’s never that simple. Actually evicting a tenant is an extremely complicated and expensive process, and one that should always be avoided.


An eviction is an official legal proceeding, complete with a formal process that needs to be followed exactly in order to have your tenant move out and relinquish the property back to you. Failure to follow your state’s laws on a legal eviction can result in delaying the eviction date, losing a court hearing or owing the tenant money.


Rental property owners will benefit from understanding the legal eviction process in order to protect themselves from breaking the law should they ever go through the process. I also hope to instill the idea that addressing an issue with a bad tenant takes a lot more energy than simply evicting him. I want all investors to understand the importance of finding good tenants and sticking to the lease terms, so you can minimize the risk of dealing with an eviction.


Let’s first take a look at the difference between an illegal and a legal eviction.


An illegal eviction involves:

• Changing the locks.

• Putting your renter’s belongings on the curb or in the garbage.

• Threatening the tenant with an eviction or increased fines.

• Turning off utilities or other services.


A legal eviction includes:

• A court order.

• Official notices.

• Appropriate communication.

• Adherence to state laws.

• Patience.


What Is An Eviction?

An eviction is a lawsuit, sometimes known as an unlawful detainer lawsuit, that a property owner files against a tenant in order to regain possession of a property. Once an eviction lawsuit is filed with the court and a judge rules in favor of the eviction, the property owner can work with law enforcement to remove the tenant by an agreed-upon date per the eviction ruling.


In order for a property owner to win an eviction ruling, the property owner