As a landlord, you likely hope that you never have to evict a tenant. Not only is doing so emotionally difficult, but you can also face legal issues in the wake of the eviction if you didn't do so in the proper manner. When you have a tenant whom you're thinking about evicting, it's a good idea to consult a real estate attorney before you move forward. The cost of a consultation can be considerably less than what you may have to pay in legal fees in the wake of an unlawful eviction. Here are some things that your attorney can confirm for you.
Actions Versus Tenant Agreement
Every landlord should have tenants sign agreements before they move in, so you hopefully took this step when the problematic tenant first began to rent from you. As a landlord, it's easy to get aggravated by a tenant's behavior but not necessarily consider whether this behavior violates the tenant agreement. This evaluation can be difficult to perform neutrally, especially when you do not like the tenant and are looking for any excuse to have him or her leave. Your real estate attorney can evaluate the agreement and listen to what the tenant has done, thus being able to give you a clear idea of the situation.
A landlord can't simply appear at his or her tenant's door, declare that he or she is being evicted, and demand that the tenant leaves the property immediately. Doing so is impractical, given the amount of possessions most tenants have. While you might be tempted to take this approach with a problematic tenant, your real estate attorney will talk to you about the process of legally evicting the tenant — which includes giving notice in writing. Specific laws concerning evictions can vary by state, and your attorney can outline the legal process for you.
Help With Disputes
While there are some tenants who will accept the eviction and move along within the mandated timeline, there are others who will fight you legally. Consulting a legal professional in advance of the eviction can provide you with a readily available expert who can help you in the face of legal action, too. For example, perhaps the ex-tenant wishes to sue you for something that happened several months ago. Your attorney will already have an understanding of the situation and be ready to represent you as the case moves forward.
For more information and assistance, contact a law office like Johnson Motinger Greenwood Law Firm.