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The Reasons You Can (and Can’t) Evict a Tenant

Eviction Notice in an EnvelopeThere are numerous factors that contribute to a landlord’s success; one of the most vital is knowing when and how to evict a tenant. If you’re inexperienced with the eviction process or are unclear about when (and when not) to evict a renter, continue reading! The top reasons landlords evict tenants, as well as the processes involved in the eviction process, will be discussed in this blog post.

Understanding Just Cause

One of the very first things all Poquoson property managers ought to know is that eviction is a legal process that demands a court order to remove a tenant from your property. You can’t just change the locks or throw a tenant’s possessions out the window. Both of these measures would be in violation of the rights of your tenant.

To evict a tenant, you must have “just cause,” as defined by the law. If you have just cause to evict a renter, it means you have a legal reason to do so, such as nonpayment of rent, property damage, or breaching the lease terms. You can’t evict a tenant unless you have “just cause”.

Reasons You Can Evict

Not paying rent is certainly one of the most common reasons landlords evict their tenants. If your tenant somehow doesn’t pay their rent on time, you can give them formal notice that they have a certain number of days to pay or vacate the property, as required by state law. You may file for eviction if the renter refuses to cooperate. Be sure that you comply with the stipulations of the lease agreement and any state and local laws that may apply.

Damage to property is another common factor for eviction. You can give your tenant a formal notice to repair the damage or vacate if they have caused serious damage to the property beyond usual wear and tear. If the tenant continues to disobey, you may file for eviction.

A tenant may be evicted for breaking other terms in the contract of the lease as well. If your lease forbids pets, for example, and your renter has a pet, you may issue a formal letter to remove the pet or leave the property. You may file for eviction if the renter disregards the warning as per the terms of the lease. This same procedure applies to all the terms written in the lease.

Reasons You Can’t Evict

Furthermore, there are some reasons why you cannot evict a renter, even though they have perpetrated an action that would merit eviction. For example, you cannot legally evict a tenant just because they asked for fixes to the property or objected to the rental unit’s condition. Moreover, it is illegal for you to evict a tenant on the grounds of national origin, religion, familial situation, race, sex, color, or disability. These designated groups cannot legally be used for a cause for eviction, and attempting to do so may end in discrimination litigation.

The Eviction Process

If you are in the unfortunate case of having to expel a renter, there are some steps you need to consider. To start, you will issue a written notification to the tenant stating the basis for the eviction and the deadline by which they must leave the property. The next step is to go to the court and file an eviction petition and the renter will be duly notified. If the renter fails to come to their appointed court appearance, you can receive a default judgment in your favor. Finally, you can have the legal authorities in your location forcibly evict the renter if he or she refuses to vacate.

While evicting a renter is never a positive experience, sometimes it is inevitable. You’ll be prepared to face this tough circumstance if you understand why you can (and can’t) evict a renter, as well as the various processes in the eviction procedure.

Seeking the advice of an expert in property management is the best thing if you are faced with possible eviction. Contact Real Property Management Dominion to speak to a local rental property professional today at 757-395-4274.

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