Sometimes there's no way to avoid eviction: one or more tenants have to move out. Better sooner rather than later. Evicting a tenant is one of the most stressful experiences you have to endure as a landlord. Evictions take time and money, but are there other legal ways to get your property back? Yea!
Telling tenants they need to move out is understandably anxious, but filling out a written eviction notice can be just as stressful. Fortunately, there are other ways to get a tenant to move out. Join us below as we explore your rights as a landlord and some alternative methods to get tenants to move out without eviction.
Legal reasons vs. illegal to evict a tenant
Before carrying out eviction of your tenants, the reasons for doing so should be carefully considered. Unfortunately, not all landlords have the best intentions, and some laws protect tenants from retaliatory evictions. As a property owner, you may have the right to remove someone at any time for any reason, but this is not the case. Therefore, to protect yourself from disputes or allegations of unfair practices, never seek an eviction based on the following points.
Illegal reasons for firing a tenant
- Discrimination Based on Protected Classes of Fair Housing
- Personal revenge, also known as retaliatory eviction
- Rent withheld by tenants for legitimate reasons
Simply put, you cannot fire a tenant based solely on your feelings towards a tenant.Protected Classes of Fair Housing🇧🇷 This opens up potential landlord claims and a justified tenant claim. Protected classes vary slightly from state to state, so be sure to check the laws in your area. In general, people are protected against discrimination based on:
Classes protected by the federal government under the Fair Housing Act –
- the race
- national origin
- Marital status
Added examples of protected classes at the state level:
- Marital status
- sexual orientation
- gender identity
- source of income
Personal vendettas or retaliatory evictions
Evict a tenant to get revenge on himfor a dispute or any disagreement in this regard is illegal. Escalation is regrettable, but it is not a judgment-proof ground for eviction. This may irritate you, but never try to evict a tenant because they are complaining or because you are legally reporting them to the police or housing authority.
Tenant withholds rent for justifiable reason
The lessor is obliged to make the necessary repairs to maintain the level of habitability of the property. Otherwise, the tenant can hold the rent in an escrow account until the health or safety issue is resolved. However, this is different from simply not paying rent, which is an enforceable reason to fire someone in the courts.
Legal reasons for eviction and your rights as a landlord
If you cannot avoid eviction but choose a route other than going to court, it is important that you understand your landlord's rights. While there are illegal reasons for an eviction, there are legitimate reasons as well. As a landlord, you have the right to remove a tenant from the property for the following reasons.
Legal reasons why a landlord can file for eviction
- When you sell your property
- To finalize the renovation of your property
- Tenants break or violate the terms of the lease
- non-payment of rent
- Tenants cause property damage
- A tenant does not move after the end of the lease
How to get tenants to move out without eviction
Once you've established a legal basis for your tenants to move in, it's time to take action. Homeowners who don't want a long, expensive court battle may opt for a different tactic.
Tenants often know they are at fault and may be eager to accept an alternative to avoid an eviction on their record. Consider the following options!
- Offer an incentive: money for the keys
- offer help
- proper communication
Offer an incentive: money for the keys
Offering "key money" can prevent eviction by causing your tenant to move out voluntarily. While it's not the most attractive method of dealing with tenant turnover, it is one of the most effective ways to do it. That means it's going to cost you. However, it will likely be worth it if you need to get tenants out of the property as quickly as possible.
Plus, it's as easy as it looks. Through this method, you pay your tenants to vacate your property. This, in turn, allows you to avoid the lengthy authorization process and even save money in the long run. Follow these steps when offering money for keys to avoid eviction:
Steps to Offer Money for Keys
- explain the situation– Simply tell your tenant what the problem is and explain that you can no longer stay in the apartment.
- describe the consequences- Calmly explain that if they remain in the property, they will be evicted with the appropriate court orders. They are also being sued for damages.
- offer them a way out– Tell them that if they leave of their own accord, they can avoid costly consequences and even maintain their credit. Then explain that you are going to give them money to use as a deposit on a new apartment.
- Graduate- Pay a visit to the property, collect the keys from the tenants on departure and hand them the money. Swap locks immediately and make sure all utilities involved are taken care of. If applicable, return the tenant's security deposit.
In a way, using the Cash for Keys method can be seen as bribery. But this way you can avoid the stress of involving the police and waiting around while pesky tenants continue to avoid paying rent or further damage your property. The sooner you move out, the sooner you can start collecting rent from future, more reliable tenants.
Being helpful and understanding when instructing your tenants to vacate can mean the difference between a rocky road and a smooth transition. So if you have access to cheaper rates on moving trucks or cleaning supplies, offer them to your tenants. If you have their own moving truck, letting them use it for free is an even better way to gently push your tenants out the door.
As an owner, you may also have connections to other rental properties in the area. Tell your tenants that you can help them find a new home. You can even provide them with business cards and phone numbers of other property managers and landlords in the area with comparable price ranges. Approaching your tenants with this more positive and helpful attitude will make them feel more comfortable leaving. Consequently, they are even more likely to speed up the process.
Sometimes the most direct route is the best and you can justAsk tenants to move out🇧🇷 Most people like the idea of avoiding conflict, especially when it means maintaining good credit. Therefore, a calm (but firm) explanation of the situation can lead to positive results. If there is no way for the tenant to stay due to unacceptable behavior on their part or extenuating circumstances beyond their control (eg building renovations, change of ownership, etc.), a detailed explanation is essential. More importantly, there is no question why the tenant should leave.
If the situation is more flexible, for example a delinquent rent issue or a rental policy violation, there may be an opportunity to reach a new agreement with the tenant that changes the situation entirely. Try talking to them to better understand your situation. So if you think they can pay you back in the future or solve a problem, keeping them might be a better alternative than kicking them out. Remember that it is extremely important to allow open channels of communication between you and your tenants at all times. Tell them everything they need to know and occasionally remind them of their responsibilities. This prevents tenants from becoming complacent when they fulfill their end of the agreement.
Avoid these mistakes when trying to get tenants to move out
If you're desperate to get tenants out of your properties, consider some more extreme measures. Some landlords make the mistake of getting rid of their tenants without honoring their rents. Others use self-help eviction methods, where they repossess a property without using the eviction procedure. Avoid using any of the following methods to force a tenant to vacate your rental property:
Example of illegal self-help evictions
- Changing the locks while the tenant still lives in the apartment
- Removal of Tenant's Property
- Do not pay included services like water and cut them off
- threats of any kind
- direct output commands
Landlord consequences of a “self-help” eviction
If you use any of the above methods, you could easily find yourself in hot water. A lawsuit is the last thing anyone in business should face, and any of these offenses could result in your tenant legitimately suing you and hurting your business.
Each state has rules that all landlords must follow when evicting a tenant from their property. Below, we compare four different areas to show the possible consequences homeowners face when they take the law into their own hands.
Consequences of self-help evictions
- Maryland: Landlords cannot file evictions. The court may award compensation to the tenant.
- Pennsylvania: Self-help evictions are not allowed. Courts can determine damages; however, they deem it appropriate.
- Washington DC: A landlord cannot participate in evictions. The courts will award actual and punitive damages.
- Virginia: Self-help evictions are not just illegal; Landlords can pay the tenant for actual damages, court costs and attorney fees. In addition, the statues allow the tenant to stay in the apartment.
By treating your tenants and your laws with respect, employing alternative tenancy strategies doesn't have to be an exhaustive process. If you are desperate for a tenant, consider the tips listed above before starting the eviction process. Have you tried other methods to avoid eviction and your tenant still hasn't moved out? Well, a court-ordered eviction may be the last resort. If you feel overwhelmed by the thoughtConsider hiring an experienced teamas Bay Property Management Group. Our highly experienced team can handle the registration and eviction process, as well as take care of maintenance issues and remarketing your property to find you a qualified new tenant. We offer property management innorthern virginia,Washington DC,baltimore,Philadelphia, yourichmond, which provides 24/7 support for property management services. For more information, contact us today!
How do you get around an eviction? ›
- Understand your situation. ...
- Talk to your previous landlord. ...
- Try an apartment locator. ...
- Find a landlord that doesn't do background checks. ...
- Get references. ...
- Seek a co-signer. ...
- Stay on top of your credit. ...
- Be honest.
- Date of the notice.
- Tenant's name and rental address.
- A request asking the tenant to vacate the rental by a specific date, typically at least 30 days out.
If your landlord asks the high court to send bailiffs
Your landlord could then ask the high court to send bailiffs. High court bailiffs have to give you a notice of eviction with the date and time of your eviction. They have to give you notice of at least 14 days before they evict you.
If a tenant receives a 30-day notice, it is NOT AN EVICTION. It means that the landlord no longer wishes to continue the tenancy, but it does not mean that the tenant has violated the lease and it will not come up as an eviction on the tenant's rental history.How much notice do you have to give a tenant? ›
1 month's notice if your tenancy runs from month to month. If your rental period runs for longer than a month, you need to give the same amount of notice as your rental period. For example, if you pay rent every 3 months, you'll need to give your landlord 3 months' notice.What does a landlord need to do when a tenant moves out? ›
❏ On the day the tenants move out, landlords should conduct a final inspection. Tasks include: Consult the inventory and record variances or discrepancies. Any missing or damaged items that are not considered as fair “wear and tear” should be deducted from their deposit.What is a no fault eviction? ›
Since the Housing Act 1988, private landlords have been able to use 'no-fault evictions' to repossess their properties, even if there has been no particular problem with the tenant. Also known as a 'Section 21 eviction', the right to repossess a property has given many landlords peace of mind.What happens if tenants don't leave? ›
If the court grants a possession order and tenants still don't leave, landlords must apply for a warrant for eviction – meaning bailiffs can remove tenants from the property.How long does it take to evict a tenant through the courts? ›
It's not unusual for tenants to ignore the possession order granted by the court, which is normally a 14 day order. In these cases the landlord has to go to the final step, which is to apply for an eviction date with the County Court Bailiff, which can take between 5-10 weeks.Will a tenant pay rent after quit notice? ›
Paying rent after serving notice
After notice is served on the tenant, they must pay within the time frame in the notice, so if the tenant gets a three-day notice to pay rent or quit, they must pay within three days. Once the tenant pays, they have cured the breach of the lease and cannot be evicted.
Can a landlord kick you out? ›
Your landlord will have to give you notice if they want you to leave. They have to give the reasons why they want to evict you - for example, if you have rent arrears or you've damaged the property. Your landlord will have to go to court and get a court order.What rights do long term tenants have? ›
If the tenant has an ongoing contract or agreement with their original landlord, then they retain the right to live in the property when it changes hands. The tenant in situ also has the right to remain in the property until their tenancy reaches its natural end or they are evicted for good cause.Do I have to have a reason to give my tenant notice? ›
If you're still in the fixed term, you can only ask your tenants to leave if you have a reason for wanting possession that's in the Housing Act 1988. Examples of reasons include: your tenants are behind with rent payments ('in arrears') your tenants have used the property for illegal purposes, for example selling drugs.What happens when a landlord serves notice? ›
If your section 21 notice is valid, your landlord will need to go to court to evict you. You might be able to challenge your eviction and stay longer in your home. You might have to pay court costs if you decide to challenge your eviction. You should make sure you have a good case before you decide to go to court.Can I ask my tenants to leave? ›
Your landlord can only ask you to leave during the fixed term if they have certain reasons ('grounds'). For example, if: you're behind with your rent payments ('in arrears')What is end of tenancy responsibility? ›
End of tenancy cleaning is the process of thoroughly deep cleaning a rental property before a tenant moves out. It involves cleaning every aspect of the property – including floors, walls, carpets, furniture and appliances – to ensure it's returned in its original condition.How much notice do you give a landlord? ›
If you have a fixed-term contract or lease and you want to remain in the property under a Part 4 tenancy, you should notify your landlord of your intention to stay in the property. You should do this between 3 months and 1 month before your fixed–term tenancy or lease agreement expires.How long do you have to move out after eviction in Georgia? ›
After the hearing, the judge will decide whether you should be evicted. If you are evicted, you will generally have seven days to leave the property. If you are behind on your rent, you may qualify for rental assistance.How do I stop an eviction in GA? ›
Tenant Has Paid Rent in Full
If the landlord is evicting the tenant for not paying the rent, the tenant can stop the eviction by paying the rent in full, including any applicable court fees, within seven days of receiving the summons for the eviction lawsuit.
The amount the landlord says you owe should be on the dispossessory affidavit (eviction notice). Once you receive an eviction notice, you have seven (7) days to pay off that amount. The landlord is required to accept the payment only once a year.
How long is the eviction process in GA? ›
|Tenant Response Period||7 Business Days|
|Court Ruling||~3-21 Business Days|
|Court Serving Writ of Possession||7 Business Days|
|Final Notice Period||~3-21 Business Days|
If you do not leave at the end of the notice period, your landlord must apply to the court for a possession order. If the court gives them a possession order and you still do not leave, they must apply for a warrant for possession - this means bailiffs can evict you from the property.What a landlord Cannot do in Georgia? ›
Georgia law says that a landlord cannot make a tenant make or pay for repairs, unless that tenant, his/her family or guests caused the damage. For serious repair problems, local housing code departments can inspect for possible violations.Can you be evicted in 3 days in Georgia? ›
After a judgment for possession is entered, your landlord must file a writ of restitution in order to evict you. Your landlord must wait 2 days after the judgment is entered to file the writ. The U.S. Marshals Service can schedule your eviction as soon as 3 days after your landlord files the writ.What is an illegal eviction in Georgia? ›
It is illegal for your landlord to evict you without a court order. If there is no court order, you cannot be evicted even if you have not paid your rent. If they do not file a court action your landlord cannot: change the locks, force you to move, or shut off utilities.What are my rights as a tenant in Georgia? ›
According to Georgia landlord-tenant laws and the Federal Fair Housing Act, tenants have the legal right to proper housing, meaning that they must be able to live in a rental unit in good conditions. On the other hand, all tenants in Georgia have the legal right to receive fair treatment from their landlord.