10 Valid Reasons to Evict a Tenant

By Ann Hills / a couple of years ago

For many, renting out an extra room or flipping a property for the purposes of renting it is a labor of love. It is also an extremely profitable business venture, particularly in large cities and small towns, where real estate is at a premium. In a world where demand usually exceeds supply, it seems landlords are unlikely to end up with tenants that need to be removed via eviction proceeding. Yet, it happens more frequently than one might expect. There are a number of reasons to send that perfect renter who didn't live up to expectations packing in a hurry.

Failure To Pay The Rent

Non-payment of the agreed upon rent and/or HOA fees is the number one reason for landlords starting eviction proceedings. Life is an ever-changing thing and many fear being thrown out into the street when the loss of job, illness, legal troubles, or divorce gets in the way of paying the rent. Rather than discussing the issue, tenants are known for not taking calls, not being at home when the landlord comes knocking, and simply refusing to pay what is owed under the lease. In some places, eviction proceedings can take 90-120 days, giving a delinquent renter plenty of time to make other arrangements. In others, the process takes less than 30 days.

Habitually Late Payments

The only thing more distressing than a tenant who does not pay is one who pays late. After all, landlords also have bills, and this can lead to late payments of their own. Most discourage this behaviour by building a clause into the lease that levies late payments after three days and eviction proceedings after a week of late payment. The wording of the lease is important, so make certain the language makes it clear that consistent late payment may be cause for eviction.

Unapproved Residents or Subletting The Apartment

Subletting, couchsurfing, and other ways to make a few dollars while out of town is not a new concept. However, with real estate costs on the rise and extensive credit, criminal, and background checks making it difficult for many to rent, it's more and more common for tenants to have family members and domestic partners as residents kept off the lease. One of the best things a potential landlord can do is to consult with an experienced attorney to draft an iron-clad lease agreement. Legal claim for apartment overcrowding is a common cause for eviction, as long as it is spelled out clearly in the lease that subletting, short-term renting, and unapproved residents are cause for the tenant to be evicted. The protection afforded by a lawyer who understands the nuances of housing law in the area is priceless.

Excessive Damage To The Property

When renting a property, a landlord is bound to see normal wear and tear. Some of it is cringe-worthy, as no one wants to pay for holes in the wall, cracked blinds, or that orange stain on the carpet that just won't come out. These things are usually covered by a non-refundable security deposit. However, if a tenant is routinely throwing wild parties, breaking windows, or leaving shattered bottles on the walkway, it's cause to start eviction proceedings.

Excessive Noise or Disruption To Other Tenants

Especially in a large city, noise is a non-stop factor. However, living in quarters close to others means there is a general code of conduct. Most cities have laws preventing loud music and disruptive gatherings after a certain hour, as well as protection against solicitation, door-to-door collections for charity, and trespassing. Landlords have the right to say no children, no parties, and to insist on standards of cleanliness and respect that make the community a pleasant one. These rules are up to the landlord, must be spelled out in the lease, and violation is a reason for eviction.

Conducting Illegal Activity on The Premises

Everyone wants to live in a crime-free neighbourhood, but when landlords rent to tenants who are conducting illegal activities, it's more than a nuisance. The landlord may be found negligent or criminally responsible if the crime is discovered. Most crime that occurs in dwellings in quality-of-life based rather than large scale felonies. However, growing marijuana without proper licenses, selling stolen property, prostitution, and even gambling are prosecutable offenses and cause for eviction. Keep in mind that a landlord must have proof, not merely hearsay or a general impression of someone's lifestyle.

Failure To Move Out After a Lease Has Expired

Moving is difficult and it's not always easy to find a new place to live, so when a landlord or tenant choose not to renew the lease at the end of the term, sometimes renters overstay their welcome. Many will continue to pay rent as if they do not know it's time to get out. Some landlords combat this with a month-to-month lease after the lease has expired, often at a much higher rate. However, it can slow down the ability to find that next long-term renter and is a clear cause for eviction.

Violation Of a "No-Pets" Policy

Many people have pets, and know that one of the challenges of life with a beloved furry companion is finding a place to live that will also let Fido or Fluffy move in. Some landlords will allow small pets, aquarium pets, and other generally non-intrusive creatures for the price of an extremely steep security deposit. Especially when there are many properties, renters will count on the fact that no one will be bothered by the tiny kitten smuggled in via a backpack. However, an unapproved pet is an unapproved tenant. The choice to evict, institute a fine, or insist the tenant gets rid of the pet lies with the landlord.

Violation of The Terms of The Lease

Leases are long, complex documents that are often glanced over rather than read carefully. A tenant who insists on hanging laundry from the balcony, always has a hallway stinking of cigarette smoke, or refuses to stop playing the drums at 11 PM is more of a nuisance than anything else. However, if the behavior does not improve after a formal warning, it is a valid choice to go ahead with eviction proceedings.

Taking The Property Off The Rental Market

Sometimes, landlords are tired of their job. Perhaps a property isn't fetching a price that makes it worthwhile, or has become so trendy the landlord would rather live there than rent. It is possible to make a case for early termination of the lease or eviction of the present tenants if they refuse to agree to depart early. However, this can be denied in some instances, so it pays to have a back-up infraction to report if the goal is to free up a property.

Eviction is never a pleasant process for either party, and in some cases, it's worth tolerating a bit of loud noise or a few late payments to avoid the hassle of eviction. However, there are some violations that cannot be overlooked, and the process can be handled swiftly by the proper authorities.

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About the author

Ann Hills

My name is Ann Hills and I am a food blogger and a yoga teacher. When I was a child, I often got around my mother and watched her cooking in our kitchen. My mom always says to me that: “Kitchen is the heart of any home”. I strongly believe in her saying that’s reason why I prefer spending my money to make my home better than other stuff.

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