No landlord or property manager ever wants to have to deal with an eviction they are no fun for any of the parties involved, except maybe your lawyer. The days leading up to the day of court are stressful and surely involved some unpleasant and frustrating conversations. Both the tenant and you, the landlord or property manager, are most likely a bit perturbed with each other to say the least. There are some important procedures and time lines that need to be followed and I have listed some things that should at least be considered while going through the process to make sure the process goes as smoothly as an eviction can go.
1. Proof of Ownership
Every state has a little different legal process to follow when evicting a tenant but in every case it is not as simple as changing the locks and throwing the delinquent tenants belongings on the curb. After you’ve went to court and won a writ of possession will be issued proving that you are the owner and that the tenant has been ordered to move.
2. Law Enforcement
It’s important to have someone from your local law enforcement whether it is the sheriff or an appointed official in charge of handling matters like this go to serve the official writ of possession and order to move. It’s never a good idea to try and serve the order yourself. If the tenants items are needing to be moved it never hurts to have someone who is armed to supervise. Being evicted will be an emotional experience for your tenant and it could bring out some irrational behavior so having an armed person of authority to help keep the process moving smoothly is warranted. Of course it is vital to make sure you are following all the laws.
3. The Moving Crew
All of your tenants belongings will have to be removed from the house and it’s likely going to take at least two people because undoubtedly there will be something big and bulky left that cannot be handled by one person. The sheriff may be there but he’s not going to help move items from the house, that’s not part of their job. Bring some boxes and big trash bags to properly pack up your tenants belongings.
4. The Locksmith
Another thing to do on that same day, once you’ve removed the tenants items, is change out all of the locks on the house. You can’t expect that the tenant will return the keys to you. The last thing you want is for your upset tenant to come in with retribution in mind and damage the property.
5. Document The Process
Documenting the process with video and still shots is important in case there are questions or legal actions that come about down the road. Most people have a phone equipped with everything you need to properly document the eviction and of course you have a source of communication if you need to call for backup.
Going through an eviction is unpleasant. It’s stressful, tension is high and things can easily get out of hand and dangerous. The things I’ve listed are just a few things to keep in mind while going through the process and ensure that you are operating within legal bounds and getting the delinquent tenant out as soon as you can so you can get back to business as usual. Any critical things that you think should be added to the list?
Also, make sure you follow state law regarding the tenants property. Per NJ state law, you must store their stuff for 30 days and allow them to arrange to come and get it. You can however charge them for storage. You should run it past your attorney as they will know the law… or google it… Also, there is a legal provision about selling their stuff for monies owed but I don’t remember it… DOCUMENT EVERYTHING…Just for my own file I photograph the property prior to move-in and when they move out, I document again… I try to take photos from the same viewpoint for comparison, and then take any additional issues, or damage, and or garbage/belongings left.
Great feedback Bonnie! State laws do vary as you have noted and it’s imperative to really do your research or hire a professional to help. I couldn’t agree more, as with anything that has any legal ramifications (most things in life it seems) document everything. Thanks for the comment!
one of my tenants has had someone living with her without permission from me the owner. Now the 2nd person has moved out but left property and has been harassing my tenant. She wants to know what to do with his property since she doesn’t have any way to contact him What are my rights since he never had a lease with me or permission to live there?
The tenant might have to treat the property as abandoned property and follow your state laws about how to handle abandoned property. Which means storing it and trying as best as possible to contact the owner to claim the property. Here are some tips to get your tenant started. https://www.rentecdirect.com/blog/what-to-do-with-abandoned-tenant-property/
I am not sure what your responsibilities with dealing with the guest’s property are since the tenant currently still lives at the residence.
My tenant owed me rent for two and a half months. I filed for eviction and before the sherif served the tenant with the eviction notice, the tenant deposited partial payment of the rent into my bank account. What am I supposed to do? The property is in Maryland. Is it lawful to keep that partial payment and let the eviction process continue after all she still owes me more money in rent?
Unfortunately, it’s never a good idea to allow your tenant access to make deposits directly into your account. For the future, I recommend they pay via a method that allows you to have control as to whether to accept the payment or not, such as online ACH. Since your bank, on your behalf, accepted the payment it could cause issues with your eviction filing. Since this is a complicated situation, you would probably benefit from seeking legal advice for your area.