When a tenant violates lease and the property manager wants the tenant to fix the problem or vacate the apartment the property manager begins a process known as eviction. The process usually begins after the tenant is given time to fix the problem and may end up in court. Evictions are a part of the business and if tenants want to have a sound property management practice, tenants will need to understand the general concepts of evictions.
How The Process Begins
There are rules that tenant must uphold. Things such as not paying rent or having an illegal pet may be considered as grounds for eviction. It is important to understand that not all activities can be legal grounds for eviction. A tenant can also do bad things but if they are not violation of the lease the tenant cannot be evicted. This is why it is necessary to have specific activities that tenants do not want tenants to be involved in at tenants properties clearly stated in leasing/rental agreements. Using prefabricated agreements that can be altered is usually the quickest and economical way to achieve this. Often online property management software has such agreements within them.
The property manager informs the tenant on how they have violated the lease and gives them a notice of 5, 14 or 30 day (according to local laws). These notices are solely for the property managers files and do not constitute a court order. However, if the tenant refuses to move out of the property then the property manager can take them to court and this notice will become a public record.
Options of the Tenants
Tenants have the option of fixing the problem and continue living in the property if the property manager is satisfied. However, if the tenant fails to fix the problem and refuses to move out of the property before the eviction notice expires, then property manager may take them to court. After the tenant is taken to court, the court will decide whether the tenant will be evicted or the case will be dismissed.
Types of Notices
There is a difference between non-renewal notice and eviction notice. A property manager can give a tenant a notice telling them their lease. This is a non-renewal notice. The property manager can take tenants to court if they fail to move out of the property on this date. This will be eviction for holding over.
In most localities, regulators will call for eviction to:
• State the number of days before eviction to take place
• Put the eviction notice in written form
• Indicate whether the tenant can fix the problem or not
• Indicate the rent due after the lease is broken, what the tenant should pay
Property managers can serve a tenant with several notices depending on the lease violation and the number of times the tenant has received notices in a year.
1. Pay within a given time or quit and tenants have a chance to cure. Property manager can issue this notice if the rent is late. It is not must for the tenant to leave within a legal limit of days and this notice can be cured. The tenant can solve this problem, pay rent and continue living in the property. The property manager is required to give the tenant a legal limit of days (often excluding weekends). The tenant has to pay full amount or work out a payment plan with the property manager to avoid going to court. Ensure that everything is documented and keep copies. The property manager should sign the agreement or give the tenant a receipt for full payment.
2. Notice which is non-rent violation and fixable. A tenant can also break a clause on the agreement. The property manager gives the tenant five days’ notice to fix the problem and pay the required amount. The tenant should fix the problem or deny breaking any rules. Before the property manager evicts the tenant, he must prove the part violated and often not easy to prove non-rent violation.
3. Notice with no cure. This can only be given in:
• If the property manager receives a notice that their tenant is selling drug from law enforcement agent. The property manager can evict all of the tenants even those who are not involved. The evicted tenant can challenge the eviction where the property manager will let the tenant stay or let the court decide. The court will rule on the drug nuisance issue.
• Safe housing act states that if a tenant poses as a threat to another tenant or physically harms a tenant in the same locality.
Note that the property manager must have a certified document or give the tenant a curable notice on the stated issue.
4. Non-fixable notice. This notice includes even weekends and the tenant has to move even after fixing the problem. Move out of the property before the notice expires or enter an agreement with property manager to avoid being taken to court. If a tenant with rental agreement can only receive this notice if they have received a curable notice within one year. A week -week or month-month tenant can be given this notice even without receiving 5-days’ notice first.
5. 30-day notice to pay or quit which is curable. This is often only given to a tenant who has a lease of over 12 months (check with tenants local laws). This notice gives them a chance to pay this rent or take measure of paying the due rent.
The Process of Delivering the Rent
The property manager can give eviction notice, as it is different from a summons or complaint to appear in court. The notice should be given to a member of family who is above a given legal age. If the notice is given to a person who is below this age then the property manager must notify the tenant.
How Tenant Should Respond To The Notice
Tenants should never ignore a notice. However, property managers can make it much easier for tenants to respond with the use of cloud based property management software.
1. If it is possible, fix the problem and continue renting. When tenants receive a notice that is correctable, they should take the right steps and fix the problem before the time expires. The property manager cannot evict tenants if tenants write a letter indicating how tenants are going to settle the rent. When tenants pay, they should make sure that they have a receipt of payment. In some cases, the property manager can refuse to take tenants money and file an eviction. Property managers must give the tenant a chance to avoid going to court if the can pay up the rent or have a plan of settling the debt. Property managers can draft a payment method if they are willing to talk to tenants and iron things out. Nobody wants to go to the court so talk to each other and clear everything.
2. Fight for tenants rights. If tenants believe that they have not violated any lease terms. Tenants can file for a trial and the property manager will pay a filing fee while tenants are waiting for the case. Property management must prove that tenants did violate any lease and state whether tenants were served with the right notice. The court will give a decision whether the tenant should leave the property or evidence of filing the court was not enough. The judge can then reduce on the amount of rent so as to serve as compensation for physical or health violation. The complaint will go to public record whether the court decides to evict the tenant or let them stay. This will affect tenants in future as another property manager can refuse to take tenants in even if the case was dismissed. That is why it is recommended to solve tenant issues out of the court.
3. Tenants can decide to move out. This option is taken when tenants want to avoid being taken to court no matter the situation of the case. The property manager will not file a case if tenants agree to move out before the given period. However, even if the tenants have a place to go, this will not free tenants from tenants rental agreement. Tenants will still owe the property manager the rent until the lease ends. If the tenants do move out, property managers can rent out the property. This will actually be the course of ideal property management. The property manager can still file a case to ensure that tenants pay the rent due and tenants don’t move back in. To avoid this situation give the property manager a notice in writing and keep a copy.
Not a must tenants move out
No matter the situation, property manager cannot remove tenants from the house. Only a judge can decide that tenants must vacate the property and only a sheriff will evict tenants. Property manager cannot organize his goons to come and evict tenants. If this happens then tenants have the right to sue the property manager and pay for the damage caused. The property manager will also pay the attorney fee that tenants will incur.
Tenants should document what was destroyed if tenants were illegally evicted and any cost tenants incur due to this eviction. Go to consumer protection and file a complaint and inform tenants sheriff so as to get back in the apartment. Legal action will be taken immediately when tenants go to attorney.
In this case, the property manager will file an eviction hearing case in a small claims court. He will pay the filing fee, which tenants will refund if the property manager wins the case. Then tenants will have an eviction case in tenants record.
Within 5 days tenants will be summoned by the sheriff’s deputy or a civil process. The hearing that will take place before the trial is known as return date, joinder conference or initial hearing. The county clerk will allow this service to be delivered via mail and each defendant will receive a copy which is certified by mail. Adults in the case will be served with a court notice for the day of the case. If the court cannot reach tenants then they are supposed to give the letter to somebody on tenants household who is above 14 years and tell them what the letter contains. If all this fails they may publish in the newspaper and send a mail to tenants.
When tenants fail to appear on the court in the specified day then tenants are evicted from the house. The property manager can also decide to dismiss the case and in this situation tenants should call the court clerk and make them aware of the decision. It should be noted that there will be no hearing. If this doesn’t happen then the tenant should go to court and make sure that the property manager keeps their promise.
The process in the court and its duration
No witness is required during the initial stage but tenants should be prepared to discuss about the case. The aim of this stage is to find out whether there will be a settlement or the case will proceed to trial stage. There is an agreement that is known as ‘stipulated dismissal’ which tenants and tenants property manager will sign if the property manager is willing to settle. Tenants will not be evicted if tenants follow the agreement and make sure that tenants can follow the agreement. The property manager has to fill an affidavit that tenants will be evicted if tenants break the agreement. The next thing is the sheriff kicking tenants out of the house. When tenants don’t reach an agreement then a trial stage is scheduled. Make sure that tenants are aware of this as some court move from initial stage to trial stage without notice and before tenants know tenants are evicted for failing to show up. Learn what the procedure in tenants country is and be sure to follow it.
What is the fate of tenants property?
The property manager may organize with the sheriff and tenants property will be stored in a safe place. Property manager cannot decide what will be thrown away but a sheriff can. Sheriff will inform tenants within 10 days where tenants property is being stored and what tenants must pay to get it back. Tenants will receive 30 days’ notice from them before they trash them. The only person who can throw tenants or tenants property out is the sheriff.
If property manager states in the eviction case that they will not store any property left behind then they have the right to do anything they want to do with tenants property. This will happen without involving the sheriff in any way only to notify them of what they are doing. Sheriff may come to see tenants out but the property manager must follow the rules given on the lease. The property manager cannot change this lease without the tenant’s knowledge.
After tenants are evicted it may be difficult for tenants to get any housing. That is why it is better to contact: County’s department of human services or county homeless hotline if tenants are at the risk of being homeless.
The Money Tenants Owe the Property Manager
All is not over when tenants are evicted. Tenants don’t go free as the property manager can file a ‘rent and damages hearing’ where the court decides what tenants are supposed to pay. This may not happen immediately but this will be processed and sent via tenants mail. That is why tenants should leave tenants new contacts with the court so as to get the notice. Avoid coming to the court and stating that tenants did not know about scheduling of the hearing as this is an excuse. Be at the court at the hearing day and be ready to defend tenants. This is the moment that the judge will give tenants the figure that tenants are supposed to pay. Tenants should be at the court so as to defend tenants. Tenants can also go for counter-sue where the property manager will pay tenants the money he owes tenants. Tenants still owe property manager rent until a new tenant enters the house. However, tenants will not be charged during the re-renting period.
What happens if the property manager breaks a law of eviction?
An error may occur where tenants are not aware of the court’s summon. The procedure may be wrong and tenants fail to get a proper notice. A sheriff can show up at tenants door and this is the first notice of eviction tenants are receiving. Tenants should go to the court immediately and request reopening of the case and ask for petition. Ensure that tenants are properly served and get justice.