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Achieving a Successful Eviction

An Envelope with an “Eviction Notice” StampEvictions can be very time-consuming and detrimental to Dunwoody property owners‘ monthly cash flows. But if your dispute cannot be settled directly with your tenant, you might need to look at starting the eviction process. Here are some tips to ensure that your eviction will be successful.

Contrary to what most people think, eviction is not the action of forcing a tenant out of the leased property. Rather, an eviction is a legal process by which a landlord or property owner regains possession of (or full legal rights to) the property. When you lease a property to a tenant, the lease documents legally assign both rights and responsibilities to you and your tenant. It is a legal contract. To make that contract void, your tenant must willingly leave the property, otherwise, a legal process has to be followed.

The eviction process begins with understanding the Landlord/Tenant laws in your area. While some federal laws apply to all situations, there are also different state and even local laws that you need to know. If you do not follow all the relevant laws, your eviction will fail and you have to start over. For example, you will need to know how much advance notice you are required to give your tenant to remedy the lease violation, how long the grace period is for late payments, how many days you should give your tenant to vacate the property, and so on.

When you know the law and how it applies to you, the next step would be to give your tenant a Pay or Quit or Notice of Lease Violation. Aside from informing your tenant that they are in violation of the lease, this document also serves as their official notice. Instructions that the tenant can follow to comply with the lease terms should also be included. Send the notice by certified mail or any other required delivery method. See to it that the stated actions or remedies follow all time periods required by law. What if the tenant doesn’t respond to the notice or shows that they are unable or unwilling to return to compliance with their lease terms? Then your next step is to document all legal grounds for eviction and file a Forcible Detainer with the local court. Depending on where your rental property is, the required documents may include both an Eviction Complaint and a Summons. Both outline your case for eviction and inform the tenant of the action filed against them. You must file your form with the court and serve them to your tenant, either in person or by using the delivery method required by law.

The court will consider your case for eviction after you file a Forcible Detainer, and will then issue a ruling. If the judge rules in your favor, they may also include instructions for the forcible removal of the tenant from the property, if required. Eviction of a tenant who is unwilling to vacate the property is not allowed without a judgment from the court.

Although the judgment is the legal end of the eviction process, for landlords, the final step is overseeing the removal of the tenant and their belongings from the property. In most states, landlords can ask for assistance from the local police, constable, or sheriff’s department to remove a tenant. Do not intimidate or harass your tenant. It is illegal for landlords to do this in any state, even with an eviction judgment in hand. Make sure to follow your local laws when removing a tenant and their personal belongings as each state has different laws about this. Violation of a tenant’s rights, even after legally evicting them can cause them to sue you and potentially delay or even overturn your eviction judgment.

A successful eviction is an eviction that is legal and has been carefully documented and handled right from the start. But evictions can be very delicate, usually requiring time and detailed knowledge of tenant-landlord laws. Why not let the Dunwoody property management pros at Real Property Management Greenway handle your eviction for you instead? Contact us online or call 770-364-9668 to learn more.

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