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Eviction

How to Successfully Evict a Tenant

Today, we’re talking about how to successfully evict a tenant.My number one tip is to avoid it altogether. Evictions are costly, you’re going to have attorney fees, and it’s an ordeal that takes time. Time is money, so you want to get through it as quickly as you can.If you’re in the unavoidable spot of having to evict a tenant, there are some steps you can take to speed up the process and have an efficient and effective eviction.

Serving the Proper Notice

Notice

The eviction process starts with an initial notice. Your initial notice could be the tenant’s notice to vacate or the 30 or 60 day notice to terminate at the end of their lease term. Usually, you’ll be serving a Pay or Quit notice for failure to pay rent on time. This could be a three or five day notice depending on the state.If you’re evicting for a breach of the lease that cannot be cured or due to illegal activity, you’ll have different timelines and formats for the notice. It depends on the state. Just make sure you’re serving the tenant with proper notice to get started. You should have a form that allows you to plug in the appropriate information.On the notice, include the name of every adult who occupies the property and is on the lease. You will include the property address, and you’ll have to include the amount owed. It will again depend on jurisdiction as to what you can include in the amount that’s owed. For example in California, you can only include past due rents that are owed. You cannot include any late fees or any other penalty fees.Make sure you do not attach any notes to your notice. Don’t use this as an opportunity to send a letter with the notice. This is your statutory notice which is a prerequisite for filing for the eviction. It has to be right because if it’s defective, your eviction may never move forward or start from scratch. Be sure the notice contains only in the correct information and there are no defects to it.

Serving the Notice Personally

serve the notice personally

Once you have your notice filled out, the next step is to serve it.In every jurisdiction, the best method of service is personal delivery. This means you are physically handing the notice to the tenant. There are other methods that are available such a substitute service where the notice is handed to any adult that answers the door, not necessarily the person you are trying to evict. Then, you would follow up with a mailing.There is also the option to post it on the door and follow up with a mailing. You’ll need a proof of service included in your notice or as a separate form which states that the notice was served and notes the date and time. It will be attached to the notice with your eviction files as evidence that you properly served notice.

Gather and Organize Documentation

documentation

Once you have served your notice, you want to start gathering your documentation.Again, a delay is costly, so as soon as your notice expires, proceed to file the eviction paperwork. You’ll want to have your case file with the documentation ready to send to your preferred eviction counsel once that notice has expired. That way, they can start the process to present the documents and prepare the Complaint.A good eviction firm will be able to prepare the Complaint that same day and depending on the timing, file it that day or the following morning. And again - each of these steps is preparing for the next step, so if you can cut out a day here or a day there, it all adds up to getting your property back into an income producing state.The documentation you’ll want to provide includes:

  • Copy of the lease
  • Copy of the notice you served
  • Copy of proof of service
  • Copy of the ledger showing the amount owed if this is a nonpayment issueAny information that is relevant to the breach of the lease and any documentation to support it

Filing the Complaint

filing the complaint

Once the Complaint has been filed, your eviction counsel can start the process to actually serve the Summons and Complaint. This is different than serving the notice. This is the actual Complaint that has different statutory requirements, and every state is very specific on how it can be served. But again, personal service is the best service, and in California, if you are able to have that Complaint served personally, the tenant then has five days to prepare and file their response or answer to the court.If they fail to do so you can take it as default. With personal service they get five days and with the other methods, such as substitute service, you have to add 10 days for their time to respond. If you try to substitute serve and you cannot get anyone to accept delivery of the papers, and you have made reasonable efforts to do so, you can go to the court and ask for a court order allowing you to serve the Summons and Complaint by postal mail. You do have to prove to the court that you have made reasonable attempts to make a personal delivery before they will allow you to post it to their door or send it by postal mail.You can lose a lot of time going through that process and it is a very costly delay. If you have information that will help your eviction counsel or process server successfully complete a personal service, by all means, include that with your package. If you know when your tenants are typically home, or you know where they work, get this information to the eviction counsel.

The Tenant’s Response

tenant response

Once the Complaint has been served, the tenants may do nothing, which is a non-contested eviction. In this case, the five days they had to respond will pass, and you can take a default judgment. This is the best case scenario. In California, once those five days have passed, you can file a Request for Default and a Request for an Entry of Judgment of Possession at the same time. You’ll get an immediate judgment for the possession of the property, which you can then take over to the sheriff and get them to schedule the actual eviction or lockout.By possession, we mean that you’re only getting possession of the property back. At this point, you cannot include money damages in that judgment. You can go pursue money damages later. But if you have the opportunity to get the judgement of possession right away, by all means, that is the most important piece. You need to get that property back, get it renovated and get it leased out so it is producing income for you.If the tenant files a response, you have a contested eviction. This means before the time has expired, they filed an answer to the Complaint with the court and may be represented by counsel at that time. The first thing their counsel will do is take a look at your notice and try to find a defect with your notice. If they do find a defect or something they do not like, such as including late fees, they have the opportunity to file a motion. That is a big delay as you now have a hearing on the motion and go through the statutory timeframes to do so.This is why getting getting the notice right is so important. There are various other delays that the counsel may take such as asking for more information which is really nothing more than that… a delay tactic. They could also request a jury trial just to delay things because it takes the court a longer time to schedule a jury trial. If it is just a regular trial, you’ll appear only in front of the judge. When just the judge is hearing your case it can be scheduled a lot quicker than when a jury is involved. Jury trials are also more expensive and it is often a tactic that is used to put pressure on you to settle the case rather than going through the trial.Worst case scenario, you have a defendant that has filed bankruptcy. Again, this is usually just a delay tactic, but it’s a harmful one because as soon as you file bankruptcy your case comes to a halt. Now you have to go into federal bankruptcy court and that is a different court system.

Focus on the Notice

eviction

To wrap up, the most important thing is to nail that notice.Taking steps to avoid eviction is best case scenario. If you can get ahead of these things through communication and setting the right expectations with your tenant, then avoiding the eviction is going to be your best route. But, if you’re already heading into eviction territory, really focus on having the right notice and the proper statutory language. Make sure you understand what you can and cannot include in that.Make sure all your documentation is organized and ready to give over to your eviction counsel so it gives them the time to prepare the Complaint. It also allows them to move along as quickly as possible so they do not have to come back to you for additional information.Lastly, hire the right eviction firm. A good firm makes a difference in terms of marching your eviction through the process in a timely manner. A good property management company is going to help you nail down all of those things.If you have any questions at all, please contact us at Mynd Property Management. Hopefully you do not find yourself in an eviction situation but if you do, there are steps you can take to make it as painless as possible.

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What Goes Into an Eviction Make Ready in Houston



Making a property move-in ready can seem pretty daunting, especially if the previous lease ended with an eviction. We are on-location, today, visiting a property with Pete Neubig, Regional Director for Texas with Mynd Property Management. Pete is going to walk us through what a property manager or investor can expect when making a property ready for new tenants, particularly after an eviction.Steve Rozenberg: Hey everyone, this is Steve Rozenberg with Mynd Property Management. I'm here in Houston, Texas. And I'm here with my good friend Pete who is the Regional Director of Texas for Mynd Property Management. We are here today, Pete, in a property that is vacant, but this is isn't a normal vacancy, this was an eviction.

Evictions Can Be More Work

Pete Neubig: Correct. Eviction, you have a little bit more work. In this house here, we're sitting in the living room. We're in a house on Crescent Cove here in Houston. We're in the living room and the first couple things here is obviously this wall will need to be repainted. These holes will need to be patched up. Right? Along with the whole thing, this whole deal. The blinds look good. You just have to replace the wands on the blinds.Steve Rozenberg: From an investor's perspective, this is not that bad right now. The floor is not bad, right? It's not that damaged.Pete Neubig: The floor's in good shape. Your ceiling's in good shape. In this one here all you have to do, it's a full paint, it's patching some holes.Steve Rozenberg: Patch and paint.Pete Neubig: Full paint, and most likely replacing the blinds. It's easier to replace blinds than to fix them.Steve Rozenberg: Let's take a walk through we'll go look at some more stuff in the house.

High-Traffic Areas

Pete Neubig: All right, we're in the kitchen now. Steve, notice in the kitchen we have tile here. Which again, as an investor in the kitchen, wet areas, we like tile.Steve Rozenberg: High traffic, you don't have to replace it.Pete Neubig: You can also do vinyl here but we like tile better. Now notice in this case, tile's in really good shape. The kitchen, when you first look at it, it’s like, "Oh my goodness, it's in really bad shape." But if you notice, the cabinets are in really good shape, the granite is in good shape, the appliances are here. Which is good, especially on eviction, which is really good. Here you need a thorough clean, replace the blinds, and really that's it in this.Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, it's not bad. Once you clean the windows and clean it up it would look like a whole different place.

Washers and Dryers

Steve Rozenberg: All right, so now we're in the utility closet. You see we've got washer and dryers here. Pete, what's your take on having washer and dryers in this rental?Pete Neubig: A couple of things, Steve. One is, I like providing washer and dryers. Now here's the thing though, it doesn't increase the rent—Steve Rozenberg: You're not going to get more money.Pete Neubig: —but it allows you to get it rented quicker. What we do in our leases here in Houston and Texas region, is we omit these. We'll give them to you. If they work, great, if not we don't fix or replace. What we will do is we will remove.Steve Rozenberg: Would you remove these like right now, for the make-ready? Would you remove these out of the property?Pete Neubig: We would test them, if they work we would keep them. We would tell our owner, "If you want to, you can replace when something happens,” but per the lease and legally, you don't have to.

Investing in Hardwood Can Save You Money

Steve Rozenberg: All right so now we're at the stairs. We're going to go up to the second floor. Obviously, if you're looking at the carpet on the stairs, it's going to have to be replaced, right?Pete Neubig: Yeah, it looks in pretty bad shape. It's dirty. Again, if we could, I would spend a little bit more money and I would put laminate or some kind of hardwood and just build the stairs. If we can't, also know Steve, that when you do carpeting, it's a little bit more expensive to do stairs.Steve Rozenberg: Again, you're probably going to have to replace it more often than if you just spent a little bit more money and put the laminate in and then you're done with it.Pete Neubig: I'm a big fan of capital improvements, spending money upfront if you have it.Steve Rozenberg: Then you don't have to worry about it.Pete Neubig: Then you don't have to worry about it as much.Steve Rozenberg: All right, let's go upstairs.So now we're in the master bedroom. We're upstairs. It doesn't look bad. Again, on the surface it may look bad but, in reality as we know, this is basically a replacing of carpet, and fixing the holes in the walls, just like we saw before. What else?Pete Neubig: One thing about the house that I don't like, it's that the carpet is dark, which means that it makes the room smaller. We like tan carpets. I do like carpet in the bedrooms. I do see a lot of people moving towards planking, even laminate, even in the bedroom.Steve Rozenberg: And then just a rug.Pete Neubig: Now this carpet here, there's a couple of stains in there, but if we can get them out, we keep the carpet.Steve Rozenberg: This is actually clean. Yeah, this may be cleanable.Pete Neubig: It might be cleanable. The walls, just like the living room, have to be painted. With this house, the big cost of this house is going to be painting. The blinds are going to need to be replaced. If this was my house, I would have a fan light. A ceiling fan just, even though they get more damaged, they bring in the client.Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, exactly. It just looks more inviting if you have the ceiling fan in the bedrooms. It's not very expensive to have, as well.Pete Neubig: Now if this wasn't an eviction, most likely this would be cleaned, there would be a couple of touch-ups on the wall that would have been needed to be done, and maybe a paint in one wall.Steve Rozenberg: But because it's an eviction, they're going to leave it.So now we are in the master bathroom. What are your thoughts, Pete?Pete Neubig: A couple things here, Steve, obviously you want to make sure you have light bulbs. If this is rusted out, it looks like that's the color so it looks in pretty good shape. Again, the main thing with this bathroom here, is it just needs to be cleaned.Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, it's actually not bad, or in bad condition.Pete Neubig: What I like about this bathroom too, it's got a tub. Families like tubs because that's how they bathe the children. So again, I don't even think you need to repaint this, maybe wall, but not the whole thing here.Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, it's not that bad actually.Pete Neubig: No, not bad at all, especially for an eviction. If this wasn't an eviction it'd probably look very similar, to be honest with you, in this room.

Cleaning Someone Else’s Mess

Steve Rozenberg: Yeah. Now we're going to go take a look at the other bathroom because that has a little different look to it.Pete Neubig: We're in the secondary bathroom. As you can see here, evidently the tenant who lived here, thought they were a plumber. It looks like they were trying to fix something and obviously this is not the way it's supposed to look. In this case here, obviously we need to put in the tile, we need to put in new commode in, new toilet in. The bathtub is in good shape. The paint is in decent shape. If you're going to do all this new work, you're probably going to repaint. This is a lot of work in this bathroom, for sure.Steve Rozenberg: Okay everyone, so we just saw what our property looks like after a tenant is evicted. I think you and I both agree that actually was not that bad of a property, considering it was an eviction.Pete Neubig: For an eviction, that property was not terrible. Obviously we had the issue with the one bathroom, but other than that, it's a really deep clean and some paint.Steve Rozenberg: Yeah, so not too much, not too bad, it could be turned very quickly. In a couple days, it can be back on the market ready to lease and get new money again.Hopefully this helped you. If you want to know more, obviously you can go to our website, mynd.co. M-Y-N-D.co, or go to our Facebook group, MasterMynd Real Estate Investment Club and you can get more information there and talk with people like Pete and myself about your properties and your challenges. Talk to you later, bye.Paint is the first step when making any home move-in ready. And from moving furniture and hanging pictures, it is also often the post obvious repair that needs to be made. Blinds are also a fairly obvious repair, though replacing blinds is often cheaper than getting broken ones fixed.Owners can often save money in the long run by investing in the house, from the beginning. By replacing vinyl or carpet with tile or hardwood flooring, an investor can insulate themselves from having to replace a carpet or vinyl tiles, should they be damaged by a tenant. They are often easier to clean, as well, which can save time as making a property move-in ready requires cleaning the property thoroughly. It can save money, as well, as a prepared investor with a solid team of professional vendors can have a property back on the market following the end of a lease within a few days.

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The Undeniable Truth About the Tenant Eviction Process

When you’re dealing with an eviction process, you’re experiencing one of the most stressful periods involved in owning rental property. This is your Myndful Minute, where we’ll remind you of some key truths that you need to prepare for when evicting a resident.

Stay Consistent and Follow Your Lease Agreement

One of the things you have to realize is that when you own a rental property and your resident is not paying rent, you have an obligation to enforce your rental contract when you begin the eviction process. You don’t have the option to pick and choose which date you send the Notice to Pay or Quit, and you can’t arbitrarily decide when you’re going to go to the courthouse to file the eviction or go through with removing the resident based on what that resident is promising.Your lease agreement is a rental contract that’s signed by you and your resident. Make sure you always refer to your lease agreement when you’re evicting. If your resident doesn’t pay rent as agreed, you need to act in accordance with that lease. Treat your rental property like a business, and make the eviction process a consistent part of your policies and procedures.

Never Accept Partial Payments During an Eviction

Remember that when you are involved in an eviction, you should never take partial payments. Once you file that eviction in court, you’re evicting for a certain amount of overdue rent and fees. A partial payment means you’re no longer evicting for the same amount filed in court.Make a policy not to accept partial payments. Once the process has started and the documents have been filed in court, a resident will have to pay everything in full. That includes the overdue rent, the court costs, the legal fees, and the filing fees. You cannot play favorites and allow one tenant but not another tenant to make a partial payment. It looks like discrimination, and you can be charged with a fair housing violation. Be consistent and don’t accept partial payments. The only way your resident can call off the eviction is with a full payment that includes all applicable fees.

Avoid Emotional Reactions During Evictions

Evictions are emotionally stressful. It feels like your resident is taking advantage of you. But, you have to avoid taking it personally and getting emotional. This is a business, and you don’t want to make business decisions based on how you’re feeling. Nothing good ever comes from emotional, knee-jerk reactions.The consequences of an emotional reaction can be more devastating than the eviction itself. You might find yourself in an argument or served with a restraining order. Worse things can happen if the situation escalates just because someone owes you money. Your rental property is a business, and you need to treat it that way. Take all actions through the court if your resident isn’t paying rent. Follow the law and the established court procedures. Don’t go to the property and try to handle it yourself. That’s not you’re job, and it’s not the business you’re in.Thanks for joining us for this Myndful Minute. If you have any eviction-related questions, contact us at Mynd Property Management.

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