There are several reasons your tenants might be evicted. They may be damaging the property, or not complying with the terms of the contract. They might not be paying rent, and they may not have moved after being given appropriate notice to move. In these cases, you need to go to the courts for relief. Before you do that, look at your paperwork. Check your lease and rent roster, and make sure you have everything together. During the process, if the matter goes to court, you will be challenged and perhaps become a defendant at one point in the trial. Hopefully, you have done everything right. If you haven’t, be sure to get the details correct before you proceed with eviction.
Serve a Three Day Notice
Evictions start with a Three Day Notice. If you serve it on one day, start counting the three days on the following day. Weekends and holidays don’t count. The form has to be correctly filled out. Then, you can proceed to trial. Your attorney will provide a Summons and Complaint, and hire a process server to serve the tenant. If the process server can get personal service, the tenant will only have five days to answer. If they don’t get personal service, the tenants get 15 days to answer. Chances are, they will dodge the process server, so plan on 15 days. After that time is up, your attorney will press the courts for a trial date. Don’t be surprised if the tenant demands a jury trial or if they come up with an attorney, whose services are paid for by the public.
Trial and Judgment
Before the trial, the tenant may file for bankruptcy. That should not delay you too much. Your attorney can file a Relief of Stay with the federal court, and you’ll be able to proceed with the eviction. It may add a little more time, but you will be able to proceed.
Before the trial, you’ll need to try and negotiate settlements. Once you get the judgment, then it’s turned over to the sheriff. The sheriff sets a date and you have to meet him at the house, probably with a locksmith. The sheriff will knock, and if someone answers, they’ll proceed. If no one answers, they’ll expect you to open the door. Your key might not work, so have that locksmith with you.
At this time, the tenants are told to leave the property if they have not moved out already. Hopefully, if they moved out, they took all their property. If they haven’t, you must inventory and store it for the appropriate length of time. They have the right to return, pay a storage fee, and get their items. If they don’t come back, you’ll need to have a public auction.
That’s the basic path to eviction. You can serve the Three Day Notice on your own, or if you have a property manager – they will serve it for you. Try serving it at home and at work. Someone else at the house who is an adult can also be served, you’ll just need to mail a copy to the tenant as well. If you don’t get to do it personally, tape the notice to the front of the door and mail it to the tenants via first class mail. Don’t send it certified; the law requires you send it first class. Keep copies for yourself and your attorney; you’ll need to bring this notice to trial.
Hopefully, you will never have to go through this. It’s why you do rigorous screenings of applicants before they become tenants. Use real care in creating your documents. The lease and any violations of the lease need to be in order.
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- Ken Bradley
- ken Bradley