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Need to Evict Your Tenant? You’ll Really Want to Avoid These Common Mistakes

Avoid Common Eviction Mistakes When Evicting a Tenant in Richmond VA

It can be a challenging legal process evicting tenants from your rental unit. Many landlords tend to make common eviction mistakes when evicting tenants on their own.

Not only is the eviction process challenging to navigate and see through successfully, but every state has specific laws to follow as well. 

If it’s not done right the first time, you’ll have to go through the eviction process again. Eviction proceedings are often stressful and, at times, contentious and traumatic. The process of eviction can cause income loss and can take months to commence. 

Often landlords find themselves in trouble due to a lack of knowledge or they don’t know the right way to evict someone. To help you understand the process a little better, we’ve put together a list of the most common eviction mistakes that landlords make so you can avoid them.

Attempting a DIY Eviction 

Attempting to evict your tenant yourself is illegal. 

This happens when the landlord goes through unlawful means to evict a tenant from their property. This includes trying to coerce or intimidate the tenant by making the living conditions miserable to force them out of their rental.

In this case, the tenant can pursue legal action against the landlord and could lead to violence, which is dangerous for both parties. 

Another way some landlords illegally try to evict their tenants is by turning off utilities, changing the locks, or removing the tenants’ belongings.  

To ensure a smooth eviction process, you must abide by your state’s eviction laws and have professional help – even if you selfmanage your rental property in Richmond. 

Not Giving Prior Notice

Before filing an eviction, it’s necessary to give your tenant the proper notice of eviction. This lets the tenant know that you are initiating the eviction process and the reason for it. Sometimes, notice is provided when your tenant breaches the lease agreement or doesn’t pay the rent. 

If you don’t notify your tenant in advance, you will find it challenging to evict your tenant.

A proper notice of eviction in Richmond, Virginia must be delivered by the sheriff’s office and could be either a 5-day or 30-day notice depending on the breach of contract. Failure to notify a tenant properly could result in a failed eviction. 

Absence of Evidence

A common mistake that many landlords make is failing to have proper evidence supporting their eviction claim. If you’re evicting your tenant due to nonpayment of rent, you must have proof, such as correspondence with the tenant or bank statement. 

In the absence of proof, your tenant will be allowed to stay on your property. 

Examples of sufficient proof of an eviction claim include:

  • Bank statements
  • Copy of the eviction notice
  • Signed lease agreement
  • Recorded correspondence between landlord and tenant
  • Any other proof including photos, documents, etc.

Delaying to Initiate the Eviction Process

One of the most common eviction mistakes landlords make is waiting too long to start the process. This delay can be due to trusting the tenant, not wanting to go through the hassle of eviction, or simply fear of losing the case. 

To ensure you properly evict your tenant, it’s best to avoid delaying the process and gather all of your evidence as soon as possible. Not only will it help you rid a bad tenant quickly, but it will also help you avoid any more loss of income. 

Turning Off Basic Utilities

Many landlords often land themselves in big trouble when they turn off essential utilities like electricity and water at the property while tenants are living there. Even if your tenant fails to pay your rent or any other breach of the lease, turning off utilities to evict tenants is considered illegal in every state. 

Not only does this make it even harder to properly and formally evict a tenant, but could land you a fine or worse. 

Absence of Professional Eviction Attorney

Many landlords who evict their tenants decide to go conduct the process alone rather than hiring a professional attorney. They try to learn the laws of eviction and represent themselves in court.

We recommend against this practice, even if it’s to save money. A professional eviction attorney is formally educated and is more likely to win the case.

Entering the Property During the Eviction

During the eviction process, the landlord may not enter the property from which they are evicting tenants. This could lead to false blames and complicate the eviction process. 

Instead, the landlord should go to the proper authorities or sheriff’s office if they need to enter the property for any reason. This provides a witness and legal standing for being in the property. 

Not Refunding the Security Deposit

Another mistake often made by landlords is refusing to give back the security deposit during an eviction. According to the law, the security deposit is classified only for the damages in the rented property. 

Apart from legitimate deductions for damages, tenants have the complete right to get their full refund of the security deposit when evicted. 

When Should You Start the Eviction Process?

The eviction process from start to finish can take a number of months, which is why we recommend starting when there is an initial breach of contract and no remedy for the situation.

Usually, there are three primary reasons you can evict your tenant. 

These include:

  1. The tenant refuses to pay rent
  2. The tenant doesn’t leave the property once the lease ends
  3. The tenant violates any terms of the lease 

Make the Eviction Process Easier

As you can see, evictions are long and complicated. So, when it’s necessary to start the process, it’s best to have it handled by real estate professionals. The best way to do this is by hiring a property management company near you. 

When working with a property management company, you can be assured your chances of an eviction are lowered due to a thorough tenant screening process. If an eviction must be done, your property manager will represent you in court.

They are experienced and well-prepared for any eviction situation. However, most companies don’t have to perform this process thanks to finding high-quality tenants. 

Hire a Property Management Company in Richmond

Do you need an experienced professional to help you with your rental property in Richmond? Hylton & Company is the area’s leading property management company – and we’re excited to help! 

From tenant acquisition and screening to property maintenance to the unlikely event of an eviction, you can rest assured your property is in good hands with our professional real estate team. 

Contact us now to see how we can help take the stress out of owning a rental property in Richmond! 

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