There is nothing fun about the eviction process. However, when a resident stops paying rent or becomes a problem tenant, appropriate action must be taken. But property managers can turn this frustrating process into a growth opportunity to find new owners. You might also discover potential clients that are ready to sell their “headache” properties.
Turn the stress of evictions into an opportunity for your business
First, check in with the local Housing Court, District Court, or call both the City and County Circuit Courts to find out if there’s a way to contact owners that are in the process of evicting their residents. These landlords may be trying to go through the process themselves and often are experiencing both aggravation and financial hardship. They’re often more open to accepting help offered or free advice. Send them a letter or see if you can acquire their phone numbers. Give the owner a call to let them know you’ve had experience with turning the eviction process, a real lemon, into lemonade.
For example, one property manager I know sends a letter to property owners who aren’t her clients … yet. She begins the letter by simply stating she’s a property manager who is available to help these owners with the process. Since almost all evictions are a pain-in-the-neck, she offers solutions, relief, and even suggests what she calls “The Ultimate Solution.” Then she lets them know that she has clients who may be interested in buying the property if the owner is willing to consider it. Selling or doing a 1031 exchange may be just what the owner is ready for. This often begins a dialogue that in time creates a relationship. At the very least she positions herself as a property manager who can take their stress away and do what is needed to help them.
Know the eviction process in your area
A property manager or owner who wants to evict a resident must fastidiously follow state and local laws. The process of eviction may be expedited; but Rule #1 is doing everything exactly by the book. If the property manager/owner makes mistakes in serving an eviction notice, for example, the eviction case might be thrown out and the process, including the legal aspects, will begin again.
In speaking with property managers in many different states, I’ve learned that one of the most important steps to completing an eviction successfully is to take the first step with precision. What’s the first step? End the tenancy by serving an eviction notice. Many property managers hire people to serve these notices when they know residents will be home. There are several kinds of eviction notices that can be used, and depending on the state you’re in, some are more legally powerful than others. Here are some of the most common ones:
Nonpayment of rent: If the resident doesn’t pay the rent when it’s due, the landlord can serve a notice and give the resident a certain timeframe (usually 3–5 days) in which to pay. If the resident pays the full amount in the time stated, there can be no eviction.
Fixing a violation: Some states let the property owner send the non-paying resident a notice insisting the specific violation of the rental agreement be resolved. The notice must clearly state the amount of time the resident has to correct the violation.
Unconditional notice: In some states a notice may be served on a resident to move without any exceptions. In most places this can only be done if the resident has seriously violated the rental agreement or is breaking the law in their residence.
30-day or 60-day notices: In most states a property owner can give an eviction notice for a resident to move without giving any reason. The time allowed under state law for such a notice is usually 30 or 60 days, but it may be as short as 20 days or as long as 90 days.
Remember, some states or cities require owners to pay relocation expenses in some situations, like evicting a senior citizen or disabled tenants, or for units that are being converted to condos.
Make sure you know the exceptions to the laws concerning eviction in your area. Know both your owners’ and your residents’ rights to handle an eviction effectively.