Eviction is never a prospect you want to face, but it's sometimes a necessary evil. One of the scariest parts of removing tenants from the property, especially if you think they're going to fight it, is the fact that they are living in your property. There's no telling what kind of damage they can do from the time you tell them they need to be out to the time the sheriff comes to actually remove them from the property. There are a few steps you can take to protect your property in the event of an eviction.
You should already have landlord insurance on the property, but if you don't, get it in place before you send notice to the tenants about an impending eviction. This insurance is different from landlord liability insurance as it protects the property against damage. Some policies also provide a loss-of-use payout for the time period the unit is unusable if the tenants damage it. This helps to protect you against cash-flow issues that occur when malicious tenants decide they aren't going to take an eviction quietly. Bankrate.com recommends you don't rely on your homeowners insurance for this situation, as the insurance company may choose not to cover commercial use of the property, and they won't provide loss-of-use coverage.
Work Out Arrangements With the Tenants
Eviction proceedings aren't particularly expensive in the grand scheme of legal processes, but it is money that you might not want to spend, especially if you're dealing with tenants refusing to pay rent. Talk to the tenants to see if this is a temporary setback that's stopping them from paying rent, or if it's a bigger problem. If they are unable to meet their financial obligations, consider working out a deal where you pay them some of the money you would use on the eviction filing and the applicable amount of their security deposit to facilitate their leaving the premises without a fuss. This is a tactic often used by banks that are trying to get families to leave homes that are in foreclosure, and it provides an incentive for the tenants to leave the property intact and undamaged.
Get All Your Ducks in a Row Before Filing
Retain a lawyer or understand your local eviction laws inside and out before you start the process. You don't want to have a misstep at any point in the process because the eviction process is fast and streamlined unless you don't follow procedure. If the tenants know this, it's easy enough to get the case dismissed, and you have to spend the time refiling. You don't want to give them a significant amount of time to retaliate against the property, so doing it right the first time is essential.
If you have documented proof that the tenants are planning on damaging the property due to the eviction, or they are a danger to the property or others, explain your concerns to the court. You may be able to accelerate the eviction process in order to minimize potential damage to your home.
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