Most Wilmington property owners usually avoid evictions as these are often time-consuming and really bad for 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 many people believe, eviction isn’t the forcing of 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 to void that contract, your tenant has to agree to willingly vacate the property, or a corresponding legal process will be needed.
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.
Upon knowing how the law applies to you, the next step is to give your tenant a Pay or Quit or Notice of Lease Violation. This document serves as an official notice to your tenant telling them they are in violation of the lease. Instructions that the tenant can follow to comply with the lease terms should also be included. If required, you have to send the notice by certified mail or other required delivery methods. You also have to ensure that any stated actions or remedies follow all time periods required by law.
What should a landlord do if the tenant does not respond to the notice or if they are still unable or unwilling to return to compliance with their lease terms? 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 could also include the instructions for the forcible removal of the tenant from your property, if needed. Without a judgment from the court, you can’t evict a tenant who is unwilling to vacate the property.
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. It is illegal for landlords to use intimidation or harassment on their tenants in any state, even when they have an eviction judgment. Every state has different laws about removing a tenant and their personal belongings so be sure to follow your local laws carefully. You could be sued if you violate a tenant’s rights, even after a legal eviction. This could 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 are sensitive matters, requiring time and detailed knowledge of tenant-landlord laws. Why not let the Wilmington property management pros at Real Property Management Champion handle your eviction for you instead? Contact us online or call 910-782-4488 to learn more.
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