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When Eviction is The Wrong Call

Stressed Charleston Property Manager on the PhoneAs a Charleston landlord and rental property owner, evictions are sometimes necessary. However, when you encounter a difficult tenant, eviction is not necessarily the answer. Evictions are often time-consuming and costly for you and your tenant. In fact, most of the time, neither the property owner nor the tenant benefits from the eviction process. This means that evicting a tenant might not always be the right call. As such, you and your tenant would benefit from finding alternatives to eviction.

Your Otherwise Good Tenant Falls Behind on Rent

A good tenant is a key to owning a profitable rental property. Sometimes even good tenants can run into economic difficulties, lose a job, or otherwise find themselves unable to meet their rent payment. It’s true that the non-payment of rent is a clear violation of their lease. But evicting a tenant for missing one or even several rent payments might be too harsh of a penalty. This is especially true if the tenant was previously paying on time and is doing a good job keeping up with cleaning and property maintenance.

For this reason, it would be a good idea to look for an alternative to eviction. Maybe you can talk to your tenant and look for ways to help him/her make up for the missing rent payments. In doing this, you can spare yourself the expense of evicting and replacing your tenant, and earn their gratitude. As long as the tenant’s financial difficulties are temporary, this should be a great way to move forward. Yes, you might have to take a financial hit in the short term; but, in so doing, you can keep a good tenant, making it possible for you to recover all of the missing rent payments in the long term!

You’d Rather Keep Your Money

The eviction process can be steep in expenses, and not just from the legal fees. When your tenant knows about your plans to evict him out of the rental property, it’s quite likely that they will stop paying rent. Because of this, the cleaning or upkeep of the property will most likely stop, too. This often leads to both lost income and higher cleaning and repair expenses.

Due to the expense and hassle of the eviction process, it would even be better to just pay your tenant to move out. This type of “cash for keys” arrangement could enable a tenant experiencing financial difficulty to leave on good terms or to have them out of the property sooner than expected. Bizarre as it may be, offering money to someone who owes you money, but even a lump sum cash payment of several hundred dollars is far less than you’d spend forcing the tenant out through an eviction.

You Don’t Have Clear Legal Grounds

In conclusion, an eviction might not always solve the situation — it probably might even lead to more legal problems! You do not want this at all. One reason is that there could be so much ambiguity in your legal grounds for the eviction. If your tenant has complained about the property’s habitability, either directly to you or the local housing authority, and you haven’t taken steps to address the complaint, your attempt to evict the tenant could be deemed retaliatory and dismissed.

It could also be that your eviction will be perceived as discriminating against a tenant who is part of a protected class. Evicting a tenant based on their age, religion, skin color, family status, sexual preferences, and more is illegal, and you could end up getting sued by your tenant if you try to do so.

Finally, it would be wise not to accept partial rent payments before or after eviction for non-payment of rent. If you accept any amount of rent from the tenant, this could ruin any legal grounds you have for the eviction. This is because accepting partial payments creates an implicit agreement between you and your tenant that a judge will likely deem a continuation of your lease agreement, even if it isn’t in writing. If the legal grounds for eviction are not at all clear, it’s best to wait things out for more clarity.

 

One of the best ways to avoid evictions entirely is to find a good tenant with a strong history of on-time rental payments. It can be difficult to do that, though, especially when you have other things on your mind. At Real Property Management Charleston, we carefully screen all rental applicants to find only the best possible candidates for your rental property. Then, if any problems do arise in the future, our Charleston property management experts can help guide you through the best course of action to take. To learn more, contact us online or call 843-900-4061 today!

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