How to Start the Eviction Process and Make Tenants Pay Rent Or Leave
Send a Late Notice
For the eviction process, you should send a late notice. Judges like to see that. They want to see that you've at least tried to work things out. Most states are going to require you to send some sort of notice to warn the tenant and give them the opportunity to correct the situation. Then you begin the eviction.
Money Judgments and Non-Monetary Issues
There are two types of things when you go to start an eviction that you're going to be seeking. You're going to be seeking a money judgment for unpaid rent. Maybe the tenant owes $2,000. You would be seeking a money judgment for $2,000.
Now, if the tenant has breached the lease for a non-monetary issue, for example maybe they keep making noise at night, you can declare a breach under the lease and try to evict for non-monetary issues also. You can obviously evict for non-payment, but you could also evict for a breach of the lease.
The breach can be any number of things: loud music, not putting the trash out, drugs, or if the police were reporting drug activity, so there are a number of ways that a tenant could breach a lease. Damages to the apartment are all non-monetary breaches. You would be going for a money judgment or a breach of the lease.
Possession of Property
Also, the second half of that is you are going to be looking for possession of your apartment or property back. So you've got damages through monetary damages or breach of the lease and then you're going to have possession.
The typical way the court works is you file the paperwork with the courts and pay the fee of course, and then the court will schedule a date for the hearing. They will notify the tenants of the date and the time. At that point, the tenant may reach out to you during that period and try to work things out. If they do, that's wonderful if you can get the money at that point.
Keep in mind that you've now spent $100 or $150 in court costs and make sure you add that to whatever cost that the tenant owes, because what you don't want to do is have them pay all the rent and then the court's not giving your money back because you worked things out. It's non-refundable. Make sure you add that to whatever monies you work out with the tenant.
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Mike Lautensack is the owner of Del Val Property Management LLC, a FULL service residential property management company located in Philadelphia, PA.