- The most common reason for eviction is nonpayment of rent. If the tenant has not complied with the demand for payment within the time allowed, a complaint must be filed in court by an attorney. However, in some jurisdiction, the owner’s agent (the manager) may be able to file the complaint without an attorney accompanying him or her. When the complaint is filed, the judge issues a summons to appear in court. Then the summons and the complaint are served on the tenant by a third party (i.e., sheriff or process server)
- If the summons and complaints cannot be delivered to the tenant personally, state or local law will specify alternate procedures. Sometimes a notice may be affixed to the front door of the premises or in another conspicuous place.
- In court the judge may give the tenant an opportunity to pay the rent. State and local laws determine whether the landlord has any legal obligation to accept payment. If the tenant cannot pay, the judge usually awards judgement in favor of the landlord. This award often includes possession of the apartment, rent due, and court costs, depending on the judge. As part of the judgement, the tenant will be given a date by which to vacate the premises
Other reasons for eviction
Other grounds for eviction for cause are:
- Violation of the lease terms, including nonpayment of monies other than rent (i.e., utilities, deposits, fees)
- Misuse of facilities,
- Destruction of property
- Failure to maintain the premises
- Creating a nuisance (i.e., unlawful activities, persistent noisy behavior)
- Collecting rent can be difficult after a tenant has abandoned an apartment or has been evicted. The site manager must ensure that proper abandonment procedures have been followed before proceeding with the collection process. The landlord has several options, including use of collection agency. The management company may have a standard procedure for determining whether this option is financially viable.
CHECKLIST: COOURT PREPARATION STEPS
- Document authority by showing a copy of the contract that authorizes him or her to act for the property owner
- Give proper notice to a tenant in a letter or legal document that outlines the complaint. Technicalities can be the basis for dismissal of a case, which must then be called.
- Prepare extra copies in advance of a court appearance. Not only will this save time and legal fees in the preparation of an attorney’s formal complaint but it will also help focus the judge’s attention on the primary issue. Photographs and testimony of witnesses may also be important.