Bad tenants are a fact of life when you are a landlord. Late payments, failure to pay at all or unreasonable behavior are bound to happen any time you rent your property to someone. Our best advice to clients is that bad tenants never get better. Once it becomes apparent that the lessee will be problematic, you should move quickly to terminate the lease and get them out of the property.
We are frequently asked how long it takes to get a defaulting tenant out of a property. The average is about 6 weeks but it can vary from case to case. The law requires a mandatory notice to the tenant before an eviction suit is filed. For non-payment of rent, the landlord must give the tenant 5 days to pay all that is owed. A 10 day notice is required when asking a tenant to cease behaviors for lease violations other than payment of rent such as carrying on illegal activity or being a nuisance. If there is no written lease in place, a 30 day notice is sometimes required to terminate a month to month tenancy.
Regardless of the type of notice required, there are strict requirements for service of the notice which must be filed. Simply hanging the notice on a door or stuffing it in a mailbox may not be enough. You risk having your eviction lawsuit dismissed if the notice was not served properly.
Once the notice period expires, a lawsuit called a forcible entry and detainer action must be filed. A summons is issued and must be served upon the tenant and other occupants of the property by a sheriff or licensed process service in a manner allowed by the law. The summons must be served at least 3 days before the first court date.
At the initial court date, a tenant that has been served may not come to court or may admit that the landlord is entitled to possession of the premises. In that case, a judgment order is signed and the tenant is typically given 7-14 days to vacate the premises. If the tenant contests the eviction, a trial date is set, usually about 7 days after the initial court date.
Once a court order granting possession is issued by the Court, an eviction must be scheduled with the county sheriff. There are certain times of year when the sheriff is overbooked and the eviction cannot be scheduled until a week or more after the date the judge ordered the tenant to leave. The sheriff will be present on the eviction date to maintain order. The landlord is responsible for removing the tenant’s belongings if the tenant has not already vacated the premises.
The eviction process can be complicated and there are many nuances in the law which must be followed. contact us if you need help with a difficult tenant.