8 Crucial Items Every Landlord Should Bring to an Eviction

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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.

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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.

Related: How to Properly Evict a Tenant (and Avoid a Legal Hot Mess!)

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!

Related: Your Complete Guide to Effectively Handling Tenant Evictions

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.

Resolve

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.

About Author

Kevin Perk

Kevin Perk is co-founder of Kevron Properties, LLC with his wife Terron and has been involved in real estate investing for 10 years. Kevin invests in and manages rental properties in Memphis, TN and is a past president and vice-president of the local REIA group, the Memphis Investors Group.

14 Comments

  1. I had a negligent property management company do my eviction. These thieves got away with 5 months free rent AND THEY WOULD NOT LEAVE even after we said we would drop what they owed if they just left. The management company dropped the ball from the beginning. Sending the eviction notice to the wrong house and then that delayed it. Then only having ONE adult on the eviction notice not both delay again. Then ofcourse you have to pay the movers to get all their stuff out. They filed an appeal and when they did not come up with the money by the time it was due, the property management company immediately filed the writ of possesion. Eviction was then put on the books with the marshal. I told the management company to not let them know when it was going to happen. The marshal commented we were very lucky there was no damage. That was ofcourse because we did not give them a heads up which they did not deserve.

    • Kevin Perk

      TCR,

      Evictions are no fun, especially if someone is messing them up. Sorry to hear about your experience. At least you hopefully learned from the experience and found another management company.

      Glad it worked out in the end.

      Thanks for reading and commenting,

      Kevin

  2. Amy A.

    I don’t think you are supposed to put their possessions on the curb in most states. Check your state laws, but in my state we must store their stuff and follow a procedure before we can send it to the dump.

    • Kevin Perk

      Amy,

      Thanks for the comment.

      You are very correct that local laws will come into play here and you had better know them. Here in TN we have to put the stuff on the curb so the tenant has access to their possessions. They are supposed to pick their stuff up and take it with them. What usually happens is they leave a bunch of junk behind that gets picked over by looters and strewn up and down the street.

      It is such a problem that the City of Memphis passed an ordinance requiring landlords notify the City so they can send out crews to pick up the left overs and then bill us. So what to do? State law says it has to stay on the street, but the City wants it gone asap. Who do you listen to? Landlords are caught in the middle. Point is that even knowing and following the local laws may leave landlords in a catch 22 situation. Do the best you can though.

      Thanks for reading and commenting,

      Kevin

    • Jon Kepler

      I invest in Ontario, Canada, and we are supposed to keep the possessions in the unit for 72 hours after the eviction. Requiring landlords to leave possessions at the curb sounds like a horrible idea for a variety of reasons. Now I’m curious to find out if a state like Minnesota has this rule – the enormous snowbanks would make things interesting!

      • Kevin Perk

        Jon,

        Another three days without possession of your unit sounds horrible to me.

        After all, I have already been through enough and the tenant has had ample time to get their stuff out. The tenant knew this was coming. If they had just paid their bills (or tried to work things out with us) none of this would have happened.

        Putting it on the curb is not too bad. The tenant has access to their stuff and they are out of my property. The mess gets cleaned up in a few days and everyone is happy.

        I am however glad I do not have to do this in Minneapolis, the snow would make things a lot more interesting.

        Thanks for reading and for the comment,

        Kevin

  3. Alex Craig

    Just last week we did an eviction where the process server found a AR-15 and a bunch of marijuana. Cops are called (not sure if it was by process server or my project manager), cop pulls up, grabs AR-15, throws it in car and leaves. Looked really shady. Probably the worst though was evicting a stripper and opening up her closets to all her work related items. We had to paper, rock, scissors to see who cleaned that out. Thank God, I threw Rock against scissors.

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