In the article “What Do You Do If a Tenant Refuses to Vacate,” by Leonard Baron (originally posted on Zillow.com), we learn that there are a variety of reasons why a tenant decides not to vacate, and every situation is different. With each scenario a different course of action is usually required depending on local laws, the tenant, and the overall circumstance. Understanding how to minimize the costs in the process and approaching each situation in a professional, fair, and respectful manner all play a role in how successfully the issues will be resolved. Leonard touched upon a few scenarios that commonly arise in today’s rental industry.
The first has to do with a tenant that is paying rent but simply will not move out. Whether they have violated the lease agreement, you need to renovate the unit, or you need to raise the rent, the first step is to reach out to the tenant to let him know the issue. You may want to offer time on a month-to-month basis in order to find a new place. Understanding the rights involved, providing a proper written notice after you have discussed a move-out and complying with local tenant notice laws is critical in this scenario.
The second scenario discussed is when the tenant is simply unable to pay rent, and they have not been paying rent at all. In this case the tenant could be avoiding you altogether. The best solution to minimize damage is to give proper legal notice and work with them (if possible) to find a new place to live. Suggest moving in with friends and family. Keep the lines of communication open.
Finally, in some cases the tenant will refuse to leave altogether even though they have lost any right to remain. Despite your best efforts, filing an Unlawful Detainer eviction lawsuit may be the only course of action. Before doing so, make sure all legal notices were properly submitted since the beginning of the process. Understand costs, time frames, and state procedures. Once you file the tenant will be served, but continue to reach out, and try to resolve the issue informally. You can offer to drop the suit, waive costs, and spare their credit report if they cooperate. Remember, the longer they remain in the unit the more you lose.
Problems in the landlord-tenant relationship are largely inevitable. But the savvy landlord seeks solutions that are good for both parties. In the end, it is usually the best and quickest way to recover the property and restore its profitability.
Read the complete article on Zillow: