As a Spring Branch landlord and rental property owner, evictions are sometimes unavoidable. Eviction shouldn’t be your go-to answer, though; especially when you have a difficult tenant. Evictions are not only time-consuming, but they can also be quite expensive for both you and your tenant. In fact, most of the time, neither the property owner nor the tenant benefits from the eviction process. So, don’t automatically think that evicting a tenant is the right course of action. It’s quite likely that, in these circumstances, you and your tenant would do well to look for alternatives to eviction.
Your Otherwise Good Tenant Falls Behind on Rent
A good tenant is a key to owning a profitable rental property. Sometimes even good tenants can run into economic difficulties, lose a job, or otherwise find themselves unable to meet their rent payment. Sure, non-payment of rent is a clear violation of their lease. However, evicting a tenant for missing one or even several rent payments may be unwise. This is especially true if the tenant was previously paying on time and is doing a good job keeping up with cleaning and property maintenance.
If so, a great alternative to eviction would be to come up with a way to help your tenants catch up with their missing rent payments. In doing this, you can spare yourself the expense of evicting and replacing your tenant, and earn their gratitude. As long as the tenant’s financial difficulties are temporary, this should be a great way to move forward. Taking a temporary financial hit in the short term will most likely allow you to recover all of the missing rent payments in the long term; and, you get yourself a good tenant, too.
You’d Rather Keep Your Money
The eviction process can be steep in expenses, and not just from the legal fees. Eviction means cleaning or upkeep of the property will come to a halt. Especially when the payments stop coming in because the tenant knows about the plan to evict him/her out of the rental home. This often leads to both lost income and higher cleaning and repair expenses.
Due to the expense and hassle of the eviction process, it would even be better to just pay your tenant to move out. This type of “cash for keys” arrangement could enable a tenant experiencing financial difficulty to leave on good terms or to have them out of the property sooner than expected. As strange as it sounds to offer money to someone who owes you money, but even a lump sum cash payment of several hundred dollars is far less than you’d spend forcing the tenant out through an eviction.
You Don’t Have Clear Legal Grounds
Also, there are potential situations where the eviction could open up legal problems instead of solving any problem at all. This should make you think twice about your decision. It’s not impossible for an eviction to be based on ambiguous legal grounds. If your tenant has complained about the property’s habitability, either directly to you or the local housing authority, and you haven’t taken steps to address the complaint, your attempt to evict the tenant could be deemed retaliatory and dismissed.
And, it’s quite possible that your eviction will be looked upon as discriminating against a tenant who is part of a protected class. Evicting a tenant based on their age, religion, skin color, family status, sexual preferences, and more is illegal, and you could end up getting sued by your tenant if you try to do so.
Finally, stay away from partial rent payments before or after the eviction for non-payment of rent. Protect yourself from losing legal grounds for eviction by not accepting any amount of rent from the tenant. This is because accepting partial payments creates an implicit agreement between you and your tenant that a judge will likely deem a continuation of your lease agreement, even if it isn’t in writing. To protect yourself from getting into trouble, don’t force an eviction if you know that the legal grounds for it are undefined.
One of the best ways to avoid evictions entirely is to find a good tenant with a strong history of on-time rental payments. Where do you look for these kinds of tenants? At Real Property Management Affiliates, we carefully screen all rental applicants to find only the best possible candidates for your rental property. Then, if any problems do arise in the future, our Spring Branch property management experts can help guide you through the best course of action to take. To learn more, contact us online or call 713-539-5765 today!
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