I have just purchased a duplex. One side has a tennant that I want to vacate the property since her current lease is up. I would like to renovate the property and have a feeling she is not going to be cooperative. I know she has not paid her rent at all in the last 4 months of this lease. The current lease aggreement she had with previous owner is ending in this month. My question is, once I give her written notice to vacate the property at the end of the month and she doesnt leave, can I legally change the locks and lock her out since I dont have any lease aggreement with her?
Probably not. Each state has different landlord/tenant laws, but I'm sure yours would not allow this and would probably leave you liable if you did do it. You need to research your state's property code and find out the exact process for an eviction. In Texas it takes 3 weeks and costs me $77. Another $100 or so if I need the sheriff to come out and remove them (I had to do that once).
Thanks for the advice. Let me ask you this, should I give the tennant until the end of the month or begin the eviction process immediately, since she has not paid the rent on her current lease term.
If she hasn't paid in 4 months, she probably won't pay now. So I would start it now. In Texas you have to give a 3 day notice to evict(unless its stated in your lease otherwise) before you can file it at court. I use this time period to try to get them to just move out on good terms.
It is time to start the eviction process NOW. 3 months behind is just unacceptable. You can never let it get that far. Good luck to you on this one.
have you ever heard of the "cash for keys" program??? Just knock on her door and tell her if she moves out you'll pay her $500.00 dollars or whatever she pays for rent.
I hear it works... :superman:
It's been suggested to me to do the same, but honestly, I dont believe in it. If they don't pay me, I ain't giving those deadbeats a dime. I'll pay the marshall, or filing fees, not my tenants - EVER.Start the eviction process immediately, get them out asap, and if they still owe, sue them in small claims for the difference.
can I legally change the locks and lock her out since I dont have any lease aggreement with her?
If they're unable to pay you rent, there's no way they're going to hire a lawyer for $200 an hour to come after you. Lock 'em out.
I dont know where you are but if I did that, I'd be in a heap of trouble. All they need to do is cry to the housing authority, or just call the local police, and get in and then sue me. I wouldn't recommend that ever, especially not in a tenant friendly state.
what are the tennant friendly states?
I'm a paralegal in the Philadelphia area. My father is a lawyer and has had several tenants who decided not to pay. Off went the water. Off went the electricity. We put all of their stuff outside and changed the locks. The kinds of riff-raffs that we've dealt with would never in a million years call the housing authority. Since you own the property, the police can't come and force you to let them in. If anything, YOU can call the cops to have them removed from the property. The tenants can then decide to file a civil suit, but there's no way in hell they're going to pay an attorney on an hourly basis (an attorney would not be paid a contingency in this instance). If by some miracle of God they took things that far, what are the damages? Oh, yeah, you can also decide to sue them for past rent.
It's not exactly the most pleasant, honest thing to do, but the way I justify it is that these people are TRYING to screw me so I'll fight back with whatever leverage I can. The people I've dealt with also didn't have kids, which changes things completely.
The problem with doing these Rambo style illegal evictions is that there are stiff penalties for doing so. The tenant does not have to hire a lawyer, a free legal aid lawyer is provided by the government. When you lose (and you will), then you will be forced to pay whatever penalty is allowed by your state (can be triple damages or more) and you may also be subject to discrimination or other claims depending on the situation.
While I would LIKE to simply THROW THE BUMS OUT, I follow the law. It makes for a longer career as a landlord. Of course, if my father was a lawyer and I therefore had free legal representation....
Do not wait even one day. Hire an eviction service. I pay about $125 and they give the legal notices to vacate, file for me, go to court for me and will get the constable out to forcibly evict them if necessary (another $100). Well worth the money!!!!!
Depending on the State, follow the applicable laws. Like the previous comment from Texas Steve, If you can find a firm that specializes in evictions inexpensively go for it, but don't put if off one more day.
Here's the final cure