Many Tampa property owners view evictions as time-consuming and bad for monthly cash flows. But when settling your dispute directly with your tenant becomes nearly impossible, it could be a sign to get started on the eviction process. The following are ways to ensure that your eviction is successful.
Unlike what the majority think, eviction is not the action of forcing a tenant 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. In order for that contract to be voided, the tenant has to agree to willingly vacate the property, or a corresponding legal process will be required.
Understanding the Landlord/Tenant laws of your locality is the first step of any eviction process. While some federal laws apply to all situations, there are also different state and even local laws that you need to know. There could be a chance that your eviction will fail if you do not follow all of the relevant rules. You would then have to start all 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.
Once you know how the law applies to your specific circumstance, the next step would be to give your tenant a Pay or Quit or Notice of Lease Violation. This document will serve as your official notice to your tenant informing them that they are in violation of the lease. Make sure that you include instructions for the tenant to be in compliance with the lease terms again. Some states require this to be sent via certified mail or might require a different delivery method. See to it that any stated actions or remedies follow all time periods required by law as well.
But what if the tenant is still unwilling or unable to return to compliance with their lease terms despite the notice? In this situation, the next step would be to document your legal grounds for eviction and file a Forcible Detainer with the local court. Depending on where your rental property is, the required documents might include both an Eviction Complaint and a Summons, both of which 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.
After the filing of a Forcible Detainer, the court will then consider your case for eviction and 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. You must not evict a tenant who is unwilling to vacate the property 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 a lot of states, a landlord can ask for the assistance of the local police, constable, or sheriff’s department for the removal of a tenant. Intimidation or harassment of a tenant is illegal in every state, and even a landlord with an eviction judgment in hand cannot do this. Every state has different laws about removing a tenant and their personal belongings so be sure to follow your local laws carefully. Violating a tenant’s rights, even after a legal eviction, can have you sued in return, possibly delaying or even overturning your eviction judgment.
A successful eviction is a legal eviction that is handled carefully and is properly documented from beginning to end. But evictions are sensitive matters, requiring time and detailed knowledge of tenant-landlord laws. Why not let the Tampa property management pros at Real Property Management Freedom handle your eviction for you instead? Contact us online or call 813-867-2667 to learn more.
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