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Tenants, Evictions, and Unlawful Detainer, Oh My!

Harrison Eviction Notice On DoorUnderstanding the idea of unlawful detainer is one of the more complex aspects of owning Harrison rental properties. A tenant who continues to live in a rental property even after having no legal right to do so is what, by definition, an unlawful detainer means. If an unlawful detainer situation happens, rental property owners can then use it as a legal basis to start the eviction process. However, evicting a tenant due to unlawful detainer needs a court case and, in some cases, a jury trial. In what follows, we will go over the basics of lawful detainer as well as some sample situations of unlawful detainer- and what to do when it happens.

A Legal Basis for Eviction

For many rental property owners, the idea of unlawful detainer will usually become applicable once you need to evict a tenant. Although unlawful detainer is not the only legal basis for eviction, it does present landlords with the opportunity to sue for a tenant’s removal. There are certain rules and regulations in every state that must be cautiously followed when evicting a tenant as it is a sensitive topic. When a tenant has possession of the property, a landlord cannot just kick them out for any reason. This involves violating the lease, not paying rent, or even if you cancel the lease. Before making your case to the appropriate local courts, it’s important to carefully document the situation and properly understand your legal basis for eviction.

There are several times which unlawful detainer can be applicable. Continue reading to learn more about the three most common ones.

Example 1: The tenant refuses to leave after the lease ends.

One of the most popular reasons you can use unlawful detainer to evict a tenant is if that tenant refuses to move out even after the lease has expired. You cannot, legally, make a tenant move out once their lease ends. If you replace the locks, calling the sheriff, or make any other illegal attempts, it could end up with you being sued by your tenant instead. Instead, if you have a tenant who will not move out, you should document the case and file a petition with the local court. On your end, you must be able to provide the court documents to your tenants. From that point, you will need to follow the eviction process given by the court system to get a judge’s ruling before continuing with the rest of the eviction process.

Example 2: The tenant stops paying rent.

In the event that a tenant stops paying their rent, this could be grounds to use unlawful detainer to evict that tenant. A tenant who does not pay rent is a common occurrence and has several main causes. There are some tenants that are waiting for their paychecks to come or may simply forget. But if a tenant- despite your multiple requests and reminders- did not pay their rent, you may need to resort to eviction. Be certain to accurately follow any grace period written in your lease and give your tenant one more chance to pay. Your petition may not be successful in court if you don’t do this.

Example 3: The tenant refuses to leave after the landlord terminates the lease.

If your tenant refuses to move out even after you have terminated your lease with them, an unlawful detainer may occur. Whether due to the tenant violating one or more terms or for other reasons, there are multiple reasons why a landlord may terminate a lease. If you must terminate a lease, and your tenant will not leave, you can use the legal basis of unlawful detainer to petition the court and have them move out. Most of all, you should follow the legal process step by step and be sure to document everything. Though a situation of unlawful detainer is not an excuse to breach a tenant’s rights.

When you receive the judgment from the court, you will generally get a writ that gives your tenant one more opportunity to move out of your rental property voluntarily. In most states, this writ is sent to your tenant by local law enforcement, not by you directly. With a judgment and a writ available, you can then ask the help of law enforcement to remove your tenant and get your property back.

Even though they are a usual part of owning rental property, evictions are a time-consuming legal process that can easily become a serious inconvenience. If you are in need of assistance with a tenant who is violating their lease or will not leave, why not give Real Property Management DePenn a call? Our professionals can help you get your property back as quickly as possible as well as carry out the eviction process legally and cautiously. To speak with a Harrison property manager, contact us online or call at 866-820-9913 today!

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