As a Bar Harbor landlord and rental property owner, evictions are sometimes difficult, but often necessary. Eviction is not always the solution, though, when you find yourself with a difficult tenant. Evictions are time-consuming and expensive for both 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. When you find yourselves in a position like this, it’s better for you and your tenant to find an alternative 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. Sure, 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.
Hence, a good option would be to discuss payment schemes with your tenant so that they can catch up on missing rent payments — this would be a good alternative to eviction. There’s not much to lose in this approach, especially when you know that your tenant’s financial difficulties are temporary. This is a great way to avoid the expense of evicting and replacing your tenant, all while earning their gratitude, as well. Being willing to take a temporary financial hit will most likely help you recover all of the missing rent payments in the future, and keep for yourself a good tenant, too.
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 even for the tenant to make an early exit. 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
Also, there are potential situations where the eviction could open up legal problems instead of solving any problem at all. This is a situation you want to avoid. For example, your eviction could be filled with ambiguity in regard to legal grounds for it. 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.
Also, an eviction might be interpreted 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, stay away from partial rent payments before or after the eviction for non-payment of rent. Accepting any amount of rent from the tenant will only mess up any legal grounds you have for 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. It’s best to hold off on any major decisions, especially when you know that you don’t have any clear-cut legal grounds for the eviction.
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 Acadia, 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 Bar Harbor property management experts can help guide you through the best course of action to take. To learn more, contact us online or call 207-561-7482 today!
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