Evictions are a generally unpleasant experience for everyone involved. There has often been a lot of tension, fighting and aggravation leading up to an eviction, and both sides are likely angry and upset with one another, to say the least. But now the day has finally come. No more tricks, no more delays; you are about to get your property back and hopefully get this situation behind you. As you head on over to your property at the appointed hour, there are some things that you should not go without to help ensure the eviction goes as smoothly as possible. Here are eight things not to forget.
8 Crucial Items Every Landlord Should Bring to an Eviction
A Writ of Possession
Just because you went to court and won does not mean you can kick their stuff to the curb. (Hopefully you at least went to court, right?) Every state has some kind of legal procedure to regain possession of your property, usually that includes a writ of some types that is issued 10 or more days after the court hearing.
I know it is frustrating. You want your property back, and you want the deadbeat/thief out. But if you do not follow procedure, you are the one that could be in a world of trouble and still attached to a deadbeat tenant.
Someone in Authority
Someone has to serve the writ. Someone has to be the authority for the law. Plus, looters will come out of the woodwork to pick through the stuff placed on the curb. Someone has to keep these looters away until the eviction is over. This person could be a sheriff’s deputy or a process server, depending on how things are handled in your jurisdiction. Do not go to an eviction without this person. This will vary by jurisdiction, so be aware of your local laws.
Someone Who is Armed
You are about to throw someone and all of their possessions out in the street. This process will not generally bring out the best in people, and having some visible firepower on the scene can do a lot to keep things calm. Usually this person will also be the person who is in authority, like the sheriff’s deputy or process server named above. Rarely have I seen the need arise, but you never know. Again, be very aware of your local laws and be careful.
People to Pack, Pick Up & Move Things Out
During an eviction, all of your tenant’s possessions — down to the last fork — have to be removed from the property and taken to the curb. Unless you want to do this yourself, you will need some movers. Do not expect the deputy or process server to help you. How many people do you need? Hard to tell, but bring at least two. There is always a mattress or some other large and cumbersome piece of furniture that needs to go.
Boxes & Heavy Duty Trash Bags
Do not expect your tenant to have packaged everything up for you. To keep things moving as quickly as possible, you are going to want to take some boxes and heavy duty trash bags. These items will come in really handy, especially when taking items like dishes, glasses and clothing to the curb.
A Change of Locks
A change of locks is essential. Once all of the tenant’s belongings have been removed, you have to change the locks to the property. Do not think that the tenant is going to be cooperative and return your keys to you. And do not take the chance that they will also return all copies to you.
If you do not change the locks, you run the risk of your angry tenant coming back later and causing serious damage. Sure, they could do this anyway, but why make it easy for them? Change the locks!
A Smart Phone
A smart phone is a really handy tool in these situations. First, you can make a video of the whole process in case there is some sort of court action later on. Second, you can call 911 if things get out of hand.
When judgment day finally comes people, especially tenants, can really start to sing a different tune. They will say how sorry they are. They will claim they will get you the money. They may even have the money then and there. Do not take it, and do not listen to any of it. Remember, none of this is your fault.
It is their fault that they are in this position, and if you listen to their stories now, if you take the money now, if you lessen your resolve now, guess where you are likely to be again in the very near future? Yep, right back here doing the same thing all over again, now just a bit deeper in the hole. Keep your resolve strong and get them out of there!
Evictions, as I said, are no fun. They are stressful, tense and can get dangerous. The items on this list will help you ensure that your evictions are done legally, safely and as quickly as possible so you can get the deadbeat out, get your property back and get back to business.
Anything you might add to the list?
Please let me know with your comments.