self-managing landlord

How Do I Remove a Tenant?

Removing a tenant isn't as simple as it sounds. In fact, there are many local, state and national guidelines/laws you need to pay attention to whenever you are considering ending a lease early, or removing a tenant altogether. 


A common issue we see from prospective clients is that they need to remove a tenant that isn't upholding the lease agreement. 

There are a few principles to keep in mind. Landlord/tenant law must be kept in mind and upheld throughout every interaction with a tenant. Removing a tenant is a legal issue and it must be done correctly to best protect you and your tenant.

We've all heard horror stories of tenants who refuse to leave a property. This most frequently occurs when a self-managing landlord attempts to navigate complicated legal processes on their own. It is essential to reach out for support during this time. Getting legal help in these instances can help protect you, and potentially help you save money in the long-run. 

The first thing to consider is that you must give proper notice. Why they're being removed, how long they've been in the property and what the lease agreement states will all dictate how much notice you need to give. You can't simply hand them a notice without looking into all of the above points. The law may require you to bring it to their door, hand it to them personally, or take another route altogether. Make sure you research the most current laws nationally, locally and in your state, and follow it to the letter to best protect yourself. 

Many landlords may be inclined to keep the security deposit or make deductions when a problem tenant moves out. You should keep in mind that you can only keep a security deposit if there are true damages beyond normal wear and tear to the home, or potentially to absolve some of their rental payment debt. We recommend taking as many photos of the home and damages as possible, and that you do a 3D scan of every inch of the property prior to move-in, including the yard and exterior areas. This way, you can prove the damages did not exist before the tenant moved in. If the dispute goes to court, any deduction you can not prove with valid documentation will not result in payment. 

Because of COVID-19, laws may have changed or may continue to change regarding how, and when, you can remove a tenant, file an eviction, or use the damage deposit for unpaid rental debt. It's not as simple as handing them notice. This is a complex issue that we highly recommend following all applicable laws on. 

If you're not up-to-speed on the laws, and don't have the time to thoroughly research the laws, we recommend hiring a property management company who can aid the in legal removal of the tenant, and help better screen tenants in the future. 


This article is not intended to be used as legal advice, but rather to encourage you to continue your research and reach out to a legal professional or property management company. Local, State and National guidelines, as well as changing laws, may impact the points here. If you're interested in receiving advice specific to your situation, please reach out via our contact page, here. 

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