How do you get rid of bad, problematic tenants? Dealing with problematic tenants is probably the biggest thorn in a real estate investor’s side.
Tenants can cause a host of problems like not paying rent, piling up trash, being loud, and the list goes on. If you’re like me, the first thing that pops into your mind, when dealing with problematic tenants, is how do I get them out of the property as soon as possible?
Before I go any further, let me say that, I feel your pain. Always, however, make sure you follow the law, and do what is right even though your tenant may be in violation of the lease.
Below are 4 steps to follow.
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1) Confirm the lease violation
Before escalating whatever tenant issue you’re dealing with, you need to make sure the tenant is indeed in violation of the lease. Once you’ve confirmed this, move on to step 2.
2) Notify the Tenant
There are several ways you can notify your tenant of the alleged lease violation, but its best to send them a letter with a returned receipt. This way you have proof that you’ve provided the tenant with notice to comply with the terms of the lease.
Your notification should specifically include the lease violation, timeframe to come back in compliance, and the consequences if they remain in violation (notice to vacate, etc.). It wouldn’t hurt to also send them an email since emails have time stamps, and save the email for your records. The more evidence you can collect to support your case the better.
3) Offer Cash for Keys
If the tenant does not comply or respond, then I recommend giving them notice to vacate along with a cash for keys offer. Cash for keys is where you offer the tenant cash in exchange for possession of the property, and the keys, of course. This can avoid an eviction and save you a ton of headaches and legal fees that come with evicting tenants.
4) File an Eviction
If the tenant is not agreeable to cash for keys and remains in violation, then you should consult your attorney about filing an eviction in order to regain possession of the property.
5) Pursue Wage Garnishment
Assuming you win in court (receive a judgement in your favor), then work with your attorney to get a wage garnishment suit, so you can potentially garnish your tenant’s wages for any money owed. There are wage garnishment limitations, and some wages are not even garnishable. Here’s a good resource to review if you’re considering garnishing wages.