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When Eviction is The Wrong Call

Stressed South End Property Manager on the PhoneAs a South End landlord and rental property owner, evictions are sometimes unavoidable. Eviction is not always the solution, though, when you find yourself with a difficult tenant. Evictions can be quite time-consuming for both you and your tenant; and, very costly, too! In fact, most of the time, neither the property owner nor the tenant benefits from the eviction process. Therefore, it’s possible that evicting a tenant isn’t always the right thing to do. In this case, it would most likely be better for you and your tenant to find an alternative 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. So long as the tenant’s financial difficulties are temporary, you can move forward without the expenses that come with evicting and replacing your tenant, and you get to earn their heartfelt gratitude. 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 get very expensive, and that’s not just on 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.

The expense and hassle of the eviction process are not worth it; it’s 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 move out at an even earlier date. It might sound odd 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

Lastly, there are situations when an eviction might not actually solve anything but provide legal problems, instead. This should be a huge red flag for any property owner. An example of this is the ambiguity in your legal grounds for eviction. 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.

Another thing you want to consider is that your eviction might be considered 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, it’s better to avoid accepting any partial rent payments before or after eviction for non-payment for 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. If the legal grounds for eviction are not well defined, then it would be better for you to hold off on the decision so that you can gather more details.


One of the best ways to avoid evictions entirely is to find a good tenant with a strong history of on-time rental payments. These people are everywhere; you just need someone to help you find them. At Real Property Management Commonwealth, 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 South End property management experts can help guide you through the best course of action to take. To learn more, contact us online or call 617-299-2342 today!

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.