What to do if Tenant Moves Out Prior to Eviction Court Date

Being a landlord definitely has its perks, but there are also undeniable stresses that come along with this job as well.

One of the more nerve-racking aspects of this life is dealing with tenants who don't live up to expectations.

When this occurs, the lengthy process of having the tenant evicted can begin, but these scenarios don't always end the same.

One possible outcome is that the tenant moves out before the court date and, in these instances, landlords need to ensure that they handle the situation correctly.

Never Make Assumptions
Even if it appears that a tenant has moved out prior to their eviction court date, it's important to not do anything based on this assumption until it's found to be 100 percent true.

In fact, no action should be taken after filing for eviction until the tenant turns their keys in, and this in essence will be them turning over possession.

The problem is that, if a landlord does something like change the locks and the tenant decides to come back, the landlord could be in legal trouble.

No, it's not likely that a tenant would pack all their things, move out, and then come back later. If for whatever reason they did do this, though, a landlord can face the legal repercussions of locking a tenant out of their home.

This definitely seems unfair, but it's always better to be safe than sorry.

A landlord who has gone a certain amount of time without rent payments or their property can survive financially until at least their court date.

Consider Other Legal Options
In cases where a tenant does turn over possession of a rental, it doesn't mean they're off the hook.

If back rent, future rent, or damages are owed, for instance, a landlord can still sue for these payments.

Fortunately, there are a variety of legal forms that can be found online to handle just about any potential contingency.

Of course, the landlord may need to dismiss their original case and file a new one.

This can vary by locale. It's important to consider, though, whether seeking damages is really worth the trouble.

Many landlords have found doing this to be financially draining since it often ends in a judgment against a person who has no assets.

Don't Miss Court
Yes, it seems like it would be pointless to show up to court when a tenant has vacated the property.

If that tenant hasn't turned over possession, though, everything isn't said and done.

In fact, if the tenant then sneakily shows up to court and the landlord doesn't, a judge will throw out the eviction case by not issuing a writ.

In court, the landlord can ask for a default judgment and then go about making their property suitable for rent.

Even in cases where the tenant has turned over their keys, it's not a bad idea to still go to court and not cancel the date.

This will ensure that the tenant is officially evicted, and no other problems should arise related to this issue later.

The complexities of acting as a property manager run deep, but they should never dissuade a person from enjoying the task.

While issues such as the aforementioned may arise, the law will often work them out in a positive manner.

Simply understanding how these situations work is often enough to make them go more smoothly.

Posted on Jan 15, 2015


Most Important Landlord Tenant Laws in Texas

When it comes to having a tenant for the first time, it can be pretty daunting because you are going to be the corresponding landlord and a new relationship will emerge, which will need time to grow... More

The Landlord Tenant Board: What it is and When it is Needed

Many times, there are issues between a landlord and a tenant that need to be resolved but are failed to do so, because both parties have gone too far with their actions, and have retaliated in the... More

The Landlord Tenant Laws in California

The landlord and tenant laws in California are literally the same as they are in any other state. These laws, rules and regulations are put into practice because they uphold an order, a discipline,... More

How to Write an Eviction Notice

When it comes to a landlord wanting to evict their tenant, there are specific steps that need to be followed before the process of eviction can start. It is not anymore that the landlord can simply... More

Understanding the Landlord Tenant Laws in Illinois

People are aware that there are different rulings in each state with reference to the landlord/tenant laws. The state of Illinois also has a set of laws. These rules and regulations are basically... More

How to Create a Residential Lease Agreement

Where there is a landlord, there will also be a tenant, and it is no surprise that these two parties can only work together once there is some sort of agreement, contract or a binding deal in place.... More

The Best Sites for Rental and Lease Agreement Templates

Many landlords find it difficult to write and draft a lease agreement. Since every State has its own general template, it can also be difficult to make sure your lease agreement meets all the criteria... More

The Landlord Tenant Act: What Landlords Need to Know

All landlords know that before they can formally become a landlord there are a lot of things they need to understand. Landlords and tenants cannot act as such without any legal bodies involved. That... More

What is the Eviction Process for a Landlord

When it comes to evicting a rowdy tenant from your apartment, it can be a little overwhelming, because you know that there is legal recourse and you cannot just boot out your tenant. There is a... More

Landlord Obligations: The Responsibilities of a Landlord

Becoming a landlord is a major deal and no one can simply get up and think, “well, yes I think I should be a landlord and rent out my flat.” If you are thinking that you would like to be a landlord,... More