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Getting Problem Tenants to Leave Without Trashing Your Rentals

by Guest Blogger on November 3, 2007 · 4 comments


NOTE: This is applicable in Texas. Consult your attorney to find out the legality of this technique in your state

Getting a tenant to move peacefully and without causing physical damage is hard to do.
Tenants being evicted tend to feel victimized and when they get upset they are a risk to do physical damage to the house and leave behind mountains of trash.

It will take a minimum of three weeks to legally evict a tenant and can cost in excess of $500 (Texas Law).
Owners tend to reason that they will keep the security deposit to offset losses but a tenant can cause thousands of dollars in damage in minutes.

Here is a plan that has yet to fail:

Let the tenant know that you have filed to evict them and give them a copy of the eviction papers. (Making sure to follow the courts procedures)
Tell the tenant you will only talk to them 30-minutes before the court hearing and there will be no contact until then. When they laugh at you, tell them you will refund their full security deposit, in cash, the date they move out.

(30 minutes before the hearing) Offer to issue their FULL deposit back to them the day they move out as long as all belongings and trash are removed.

Set a date for them to be out (date needs to be before a date the court will set), add the requirement that they agree to leave the property completely free of belongings and trash which includes small things such as a candy wrapper
Have them sign your prepared agreement and proceed to your court hearing.

Tell the judge that you have reached an agreement and you would like him/her to endorse it (This is the only time I remember telling the Judge how I want them to rule and they agree).

The judge should (and has) accept the agreement and inform the tenant that if they break this agreement, he/she will authorize an immediate eviction.

Finally, once the tenant is officially out, then withdraw the eviction.

It is hard to justify giving the tenant cash to leave after losing money with them already. I can only point out that in a situation such as eviction, there is NO winning! There are only degrees of LOSING!
Evicting a problem tenant only to face a damaged property is bad enough. Give the tenant the one thing that is of use to them…. cash. And offer it when it will be needed…. upon move out! This is also known as a “Cash for Keys” settlement.

Hope this has helped…
Jim Watkins

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason Fox November 3, 2007 at 4:40 pm

That makes a lot of sense. I like it but hopefully won’t have to us it to evict any of my tenants for a while… ;)


Shaun McHugh January 17, 2008 at 8:17 pm

You Texans have it easy, in Massachusetts it takes a minimum of four months to evict a tenant. I do like the “cash for keys idea, I had not thought of that.

Shaun McHugh


tara patenaude October 14, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Ya I booted out a tenant- gave him 2 weeks after he stole all my ancestral jewelry and took all my copper piping in the basement-. I packed his shit, changed the locks, put his stuff outside and told him he comes back hell be leaving in cuffs. :Laws be damned, him wrecking my grandpas house and stealing my moms jewelry- ha there is nothing worse that can be done to me.


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