When it comes to managing your own properties, there are a lot of up-sides. You can advertise your property as you see fit and decide what to charge for rent (within reason). Landlords who handle their own properties also receive their money faster, have more control over everything from who rents their properties to who handles repairs.
What is never fun is evicting a bad tenant. However, if you are managing your own property, it’s important to know who you can evict, how to do it, and when. It’s important to understand the protocol so you are following the proper laws and being fair to the tenant, even if they are being unruly or unreasonable.
Why you may need to remove a tenant
There are numerous reasons you may need to remove a tenant. Common reasons include:
- Failing to pay rent
- Causing property damage
- Conducting illegal activities
- Breaches in the tenant agreement
Any or a combination of these factors may be grounds for eviction.
Handling difficult tenants
There are a few things you can do before resorting to the termination of a lease. These include:
- Working to resolve the conflict. Take a look at the situation and see if there is a way to resolve issues amicably. If the infractions are small, you may find it’s more work to evict than to try and correct behaviours or resolve misunderstandings.
- Keeping emotions out of it. When discussing issues with a tenant, do so calmly and with control. Do your level best to keep emotions in check even if the tenant isn’t.
- Using proper communication channels. Don’t just come in when there is a problem. There may be amicable ways to solve any grievances but it requires open communication from the beginning of the relationship.
- Knowing when to compromise and when not to. You will need to get good at being able to tell if there is an honest problem versus a fabricated issue.
- Using the tenancy agreement to underline your arguments. The agreement outlines a tenant’s rights and responsibilities. Refer to it if you need to support your conditions or requests.
The protocol to follow if you need to evict
If, after communicating the issues clearly, and falling back on the rental agreement to clarify any misunderstandings, doesn’t resolve the issue, it may be time for the next step: eviction.
Notice of Termination
In order to evict a tenant, you must provide them with a Notice to Terminate Tenancy Agreement. This notice must:
- Be in writing
- Be signed by you
- Be properly addressed to the tenant
- Give the date of termination (by which time the tenant must vacate the premises)
- Provide, where appropriate, the grounds for termination
Minimum Period of Notice
As a landlord, you must provide the tenant with a minimum period of notice to give the tenant time to vacate the property. Typically, the periods are:
- 14 Days if the tenant is 14 days or more behind on rent or has committed a breach of the tenancy agreement.
- 30 Days of the fixed term of the agreement is set to end or if the premises has been sold and vacant possession is required by the buyer.
- 90 Days if the fixed term of the period has expired and no new agreement has been signed.
Note that no minimum period is required if notice is given on the grounds of:
- The premises being destroyed or is partly uninhabitable
- The premises ceasing to be legally useable as a residence
- The sole tenant passes away
- The premises is being acquired by compulsory process
Note that each state has varying rules when it comes to the eviction of tenants. Be sure to understand the underlying rules in your state and follow to correct protocols and documentation requirements to ensure you are lawfully evicting a tenant.
Why You Need to Follow The Rules
While procedures for eviction can be daunting for landlords, failing to do so could give your tenant the opportunity to take you to a tenancy tribunal or to court. If you have not followed the correct procedures, you may be ordered to compensate your tenant.
Both tribunals and courts take the rights of tenants seriously. That’s why it’s important to have a clear understanding of the process before you resort to eviction and to carefully record everything to back up your claims should you be forced to present your case before the court or a tribunal.
Why it pays to communicate
Many landlord-tenant relationships end up on rocky ground due to the lack of communication. Before handing over the keys to your rental property, make sure you have a proper agreement in place and address any questions or concerns a tenant may have. Be sure to outline important information, such as when rent is due, or how to initiate contact.
Online platforms like Instarent can help make communication with tenants a breeze. Not only do many platforms offer direct communication channels, they can arrange for direct deposits that ensure rent is paid on time every time. This makes it even easier to ensure landlords are paid promptly and that rent doesn’t fall into arrears.
Instarent gives you all the tools you need to ensure your next tenant is perfect for your investment property. Speak to the team today to see how we can make the rental process as smooth as possible.