No one wants to deal with a tenant eviction. It’s obviously not a fun process, but at times, it’s a necessity. When a tenant is in breach of lease, you have to follow through with the consequences.
There’s no need to be rude or unprofessional, but in certain circumstances, eviction is the only option. After all, in each of these cases, the tenant broke the terms of their contract. If your tenant makes one of these five inexcusable mistakes, it’s time for them to go.
1. Non-Payment of Rent
Failure to pay rent can’t be tolerated. If rent is due on the 1st of the month and is late on the 3rd, we start eviction on the 4th. It seems like a quick reaction, but since these dates are clearly explained in a lease, this timeline isn’t negotiable. If a tenant doesn’t pay for the month, they can’t stay.
2. Illegal Use of Property
When tenants engage in illegal activity, you have to do what is necessary to protect yourself, your property, and your neighbors. If you find your tenants using the property in violation of state or federal law, it’s your responsibility to evict them. In doing so, you’ll prevent property damage and limit potential lawsuits.
3. Breaking HOA Rules
If your rental property is a part of an HOA, your property has to meet certain standards. Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) may regulate landscaping, pets, outdoor decor, and parking. When your tenant signs the lease, they agree to uphold this agreement. Make those expectations clear from the beginning. However, if they decide not to follow these rules, it’s time to start the eviction process.
4. Smoking in the Property
As one of the most expensive breaches of lease to fix, smoking in the property is inexcusable. To get your house back to normal, you’ll need new appliances, new outlets, new blinds, and fresh paint. Even tenants that always pay their rent on time can’t be given a pass for smoking inside. It just costs too much to fix.
5. Property Damage
Excessive property damage also leads to eviction, primarily because of the extreme costs involved in fixing the damage. If you find broken windows, holes in walls, broken appliances, or ruined floors, you can’t afford to keep the tenant around. They are a liability to your property.
When Should You Let a Not-So-Perfect Tenant Stay?
Although those five violations are inexcusable, there are some problems a tenant can resolve to avoid eviction. So why let them stay? If the tenant can cure the lease, without causing you much (if any) expense, consider working with them.
When in doubt, answer these questions to decide the best resolution:
- What was the violation?
- Is this causing damage?
- Can I keep this person in the property?
- Do I still feel comfortable with them?
Perhaps the tenant has a pet they didn’t disclose. If so, consider allowing them to fill out the application for the animal and pay the pet deposit. If it’s a case involving an unauthorized occupant, let the other person apply.
Eviction isn’t always a cut-and-dried decision. Sure, non-payment of rent and damage result in eviction, but other mistakes can be fixed. Consider the cost of keeping a tenant vs. the cost of looking for a new one. If you’re dealing with a first offense that can be easily cured, working with the tenant will save you a lot of money in the end.
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