Should I tell my tenant I've filed for eviction?

8 Replies

I have a tenant that is two months' behind on her rent. Additionally, her lease ended on the June 30th. It's now July 3rd. There is no provision in the lease for a month-to-month tenancy at the end of the lease.  I've filed for eviction on the basis of her failing to pay rent.  I want her to leave.  Should I tell her I've filed for eviction in hopes that she'll pay the rent and leave in lieu of going to court? Or should I just go forth with the eviction (and its associated costs)?

The way I see it, telling her about the eviction gives her the option of paying and leaving, saving her the hassle and expense of a court case along with the public record associated with an eviction judgment.  And it allows us to get to a resolution more quickly, saving me the cost of the case and the cost of having a property that isn't producing income.  However, if I tell her, it gives her more time to scheme and maneuver, possibly drawing out the eviction process by coming up with two months' rent and forcing me to re-file on the basis of a holdover tenancy...

Thanks for the reply, Tom. The location is Maryland.  The notice to pay or quit was provided by mail and by email.  But, my question is more about whether I should tell the tenant about the eviction in hopes of getting her to pay the remaining rent and leave of her own accord.

The only correct answer to this question is "you follow you local eviction process." You do not deviate from that, ever, which is why it is often recommended that you get an attorney for your first eviction. Did you begin the process with your local version of a 5 day notice to pay or vacate? As far as I know, every location requires that be posted. If you did not do that, you may already be dead in the water. You are better off hiring an attorney and beginning this process sooner, rather than later.

lets run through these numbers. You gave 2 months of free rent. Now you are beginning eviction. You might go 4-8 weeks in a landlord friendly state. 3-6 months in a tenant friendly state. At that point, if the judge finds you followed the eviction process incorrectly, he may send you home to start over, at which point you will throw your hands up and hire a lawyer. So that's somewhere between 3-8 months of free rent wasted in an effort to avoid hiring an attorney. Like the say, if you think a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur (in this case you).

Hindsight is great.  You should have started the eviction process 2 months ago when she didn't pay rent for May.  

Yes tell her you are evicting her and that she's better off moving now rather than having the eviction on her record.  Tell her her lease expired and she needs to move now and then start showing the house to perspective tenants (have a few friends pretend they are going to rent it) to add to the pressure.  Make sure you give her notice that you are doing the showings.

If she's still not showing signs of moving or paying (she will likely never pay), you could offer her a couple hundred dollars to move-but do NOT pay her until after she is out AND you've inspected the place.

Tell her directly you will start the eviction process. What you are doing is totally reasonable. She did not pay rent and you start eviction process. There is no need to give her extra time.

Here's the typical process for me.  I post the Pay or Quit notice.  Usually the tenant contacts me to make payment arrangements.  If they don't, I do attempt contact on the last day of the notice with a "reminder" that they have until the end of the day to make payment or, unfortunately, they aren't giving me any other choice but to file for an eviction the next day.

I don't know what MD is like but, once I file for an eviction, I don't accept rent and I don't have to.  I guess they could potentially try to scheme and maneuver and come up with something, but they can do that just as easily as when they get notice of the eviction hearing from the court.  I don't think more time makes a difference from that aspect.  Most of the time, tenants don't even bother going to their eviction court hearing for pretty "cut and dry" cases of non-payment.

Once you've filed for an eviction, it might work to contact them again with something like "Hey, look.  It's just a matter of time now.  But if you are out by X date and sign a release, I can drop the hearing.  You won't get an eviction on your record, which will haunt you for years.  It's your chance to move on to greener pastures, without more serious ramifications."

The answer is absolutely YES. Your goal is possession of the property and informing them often gets them moving toward finding a place to move to. In my 25+ years, tenants move prior to the hearing about 75% of the time.  

I would not only let them know but follow up with “when are you moving “

@Marc Aragon some counties and cities may differ but in Maryland you are able to file a failure to pay rent the day rent is considered late. A court date will be set within 2 weeks of filing a Failure to Pay Rent at your county courthouse. After the judge finds in your favor and you wait the 4 day appeal period you can go back to the court house and file a Warrant of Restitution. When you get that back about a week later you can call the sheriff or constable to schedule your eviction.

Back to your question: yes tell them. The sooner they get out the better. They will know they are being evicted as soon as they get served for the failure to pay rent and will have enough time to damage the unit either way if that is what they are going to do.