Their credit check passed. They provided glowing references from employers and past rentals. They promptly paid the security and first month for rent. All of a sudden the rent checks cease completely.
In the worst case scenario, they have trashed the place and vanished. In a better scenario, they have called and explained they have been laid off and are waiting on unemployment. Whatever the case, if they are still living at the premises and not paying you have the option of making them vacate.
Making your tenants vacate is a no brainer if they aren’t paying. It is not easy and they will more than likely pull at your heartstrings but can you allow them to stay without paying? You are still responsible for upkeep, taxes and insurance on the place. And not to mention a mortgage, if there is one still active.
If you did background checks then there is a high probability you have a written lease. Recheck and reread the clauses. Usually the main reasons for eviction are lack of payment and or safety reasons and or breach of the lease. Perhaps they told you in writing there would only two people living there and now there are six.
Whatever the current reason is, there is probably a clause in your lease regarding written notice if you have to make them vacate. It is important to realize you cannot simply kick them out without written notice, even if they are tenant at will (month to month). Your lease may specifically state three written notices. In any case, you should check your state laws, comply with them, and document every verbal conversation regarding rent as well as written demands.
If you send a Demand for Rent notice, it should the following components in it:
1. Date which you made it out.
2. Last day rent was due and how much is owed, including late charges if applicable.
3. How many days they have to come up the funds (usually 3-5).
4. A statement saying that non compliance will result in eviction.
5. Warning about how an eviction will affect their credit rating.
6. If eviction process ends up in the courts, tenants are responsible for court fees and costs.
7. Your signature in the official capacity of the landlord.
You should further protect yourself and send the notice via certified mail.
There are a number of avenues to get forms for evictions and demands for rent or to quit the premises. If you have dealt with a reputable real estate agency for the rental process they can usually provide the paperwork. You can also have a lawyer compose them or you can either pay or look up free sites on the internet and download the forms you need. Do be aware that generic forms do not always cover everything you may need.
If you still do not receive your due rent in the time specified, you will have to give them an eviction notice. You may do this yourself via certified mail. In any case you cannot just evict a tenant without due process and they must be given the right to respond.
It is at this point many landlords just take a copy of all written documentation and eviction notice(s) and file it at the local courthouse. You will get a court date and both the landlord and tenant(s) are required to show up. Your tenant may appeal the judgment if the court agrees and sides with you. In that case, until the appeal is decided one way or another (in favor of wither the landlord or the tenant), but it is a usual practice for the rent money to be held in escrow. If the tenant loses the appeal and still refuses to vacate, the sheriff will go to the premises and evict them.
It usually takes about three weeks for the final eviction but it will depend on your individual state.
Hopefully, you will never have to undergo the process at all if you are a landlord.