5 Tips For Surviving Bad Tenants
Bad Tenants Can Wipe Out All Of Your Savings
You’re a landlord. You will eventually get them. Yes. Even you. You’ll be faced with late payments, damages to your property, a noisy tenant bringing complaints from the neighborhood or worse. Here are some steps for you if you find you have to get a bad tenant out of your property.
Be In The Right
First and foremost, make sure that you have a justifiable reason for wanting to evict your tenant. Evicting tenants for arbitrary reasons is not only morally wrong, in many cases it is illegal. You have a good case for eviction if your tenant:
- Is not paying rent
- Doesn’t move out after the lease expires
- Breaches your lease
Try Reason First
Whenever possible, especially in the case of first offenses, try to reason with the tenant. People are, well, people. We all make mistakes. Sometimes talking it out will fix a problem quickly and save hurt feelings (and litigation) down the road.
If reason doesn’t work, your next step is to serve note. In Maryland, you are required to serve notice (in writing) that states reason for the eviction. The notice must state you are giving the tenant one month to vacate the property, however, in cases where the tenant’s presence poses a danger to the neighbors and community you can shorten that to 14 days. Also, if possible, should also include on the notice how to stop the eviction. (For example, payment of back rent.) The timing of serving notice is up to you.
Filing A Complaint
If the date of the notice passes and the tenant has not done the actions to comply your next step is to file a complaint with your local District Court requesting an Eviction Order. An eviction, in essence, is a lawsuit. Once you file a complaint begin compiling your evidence in an organized way so you can prove your case to a judge. Be prepared by bringing all of your documentation to the trial. Everything.
If You Win
Once you receive judgment against your tenant, he or she has 4 days to appeal. If they don’t appeal, you can file a Petition for Warrant of Restitution with the sheriff. Once it’s processed, you can schedule an eviction date. On eviction day, you will need to have movers ready to rid your property of your tenant’s belonging. You are required to leave the property on public property where it will then be the responsibility of the tenant. In cases where there is damage, make sure you take photos of the property for insurance claims.
One final bit of advice. Leave your emotions at the door. This can be an emotional journey for both you and your tenant. Make sure you keep a level head at all times and keep anger and resentment out of your tone both verbally and in writing. As the Manoj Arora said in the book From The Rat Race to Financial Freedom, “Be like a duck, paddling and working very hard inside the water, but what everyone sees is a smiling and calm face.”
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