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The Reasons You Can (and Can’t) Evict a Tenant

Eviction Notice in an EnvelopeThere are several factors that contribute to a landlord’s success; one of the most critical is knowing when and how to evict a tenant. If you’re not sure how to evict a tenant or when you can (and can’t) do so, keep reading! The top reasons landlords evict tenants, as well as the processes involved in the eviction process, will be discussed in this blog post.

Understanding Just Cause

One of the very first things all Everett property managers ought to know is that eviction is a legal process that demands a court order to remove a tenant from your property. You can’t even change the locks or dump a tenant’s belongings outside. These two actions would violate your tenant’s rights.

It is crucial to have “just cause” in order to evict a tenant. Basically just cause means that you have the legal right to evict a tenant for infractions like property damage, nonpayment, or non-compliance to the terms of the lease. You cannot lawfully evict a tenant unless you already have just cause.

Reasons You Can Evict

Not paying rent is certainly one of the most common reasons landlords evict their tenants. If your tenant doesn’t pay their rent as agreed, you can give them written notice that they have a set amount of days to pay or vacate the property, as mandated by state statute. You may file for eviction if the renter refuses to cooperate. Just remember to stick to your lease’s conditions as well as any applicable state and local laws.

Damage to the property is another typical ground for eviction. You can give your tenant a written notice to repair the damage or vacate if they have caused significant damage to the property beyond usual wear and tear. Refusal of the tenant to comply means you may file for eviction.

Additionally, you may evict a renter for violating other lease provisions. For instance, if your renter has an animal and your lease does not allow animals, you can serve a formal notice to leave the property or remove the animal. If the tenant continues to disobey, you may file for eviction. The same holds true for all other lease-contract terms.

Reasons You Can’t Evict

There are also situations where you cannot evict a tenant even if they have done something worthy of eviction. For instance, it is not lawful to remove a renter just because they requested repairs to the property or complained about the rental unit’s condition. Additionally, you are prohibited from evicting a renter on the basis of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial situation, or disability. These safeguarded groups cannot legally be used as a reason for eviction, and trying to do so may result in a discrimination lawsuit.

The Eviction Process

If you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of having to evict a renter, there are a few procedures you must follow. To begin, you must serve a written notice on the tenant specifying the basis for the eviction and the date by which they must depart the premises. After that, you’ll need to file an eviction petition with the court and the tenant will be notified. You may be awarded a default judgment if the tenant does not appear on the scheduled court date. Lastly, if the renter resists eviction, you can get the legal authority in your region to evict them.

While evicting a renter is never a positive experience, sometimes it is inevitable. Eviction is a difficult process, and understanding why you can (and can’t) do it will enable you to manage this difficult predicament.

Seeking the advice of an expert in property management is the best thing if you are faced with possible eviction. Contact Real Property Management Commonwealth to speak to a local rental property professional today at 617-299-2342.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.