Can A Tenant Actually Withold Rent?

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Tenants are typically required by their rental agreements to pay rent at a certain time each month. However, some states do allow tenants to withhold rent under certain circumstances. This is usually when a landlord fails to meet certain legal requirements for keeping a rental home in good condition. Find out what to do if your tenant starts withholding rent.

The Legal Responsibilities Landlords Have

Under some state laws, landlords are responsible for keeping a rental home in good condition. They must ensure the home meets all health, environmental, and housing/building codes. This usually includes:

  • Windows and doors, including screens
  • Foundation and floors
  • Porches and steps
  • Outside walls

Additionally, some state laws requires landlords of all types of buildings — with the exception of duplexes and single family homes — to ensure the structure is free from rodent and insect activity, including termites, ants, and cockroaches. Landlords also must provide heat, water, and garbage removal.

US landlords are not always required to provide air conditioning. 

Failure to adhere to these laws allows a tenant to legally withhold rent until the landlord remedies the issue(s) that are in violation.

What Tenants Must Do to Withhold Rent

A tenant cannot simply stop paying rent and later claim it was due to a law-violating condition within the home. By law, tenants must notify a landlord of their intention to withhold rent in writing seven days prior to the day it’s due. Additionally, the written notice must be sent to the landlord via certified mail, arriving seven days prior. Or, it can be hand-delivered to the landlord in the presence of a witness.

If your tenant has stopped paying rent and did not provide you with written notice prior to doing so, you may be able to take action against them for the nonpayment of rent, which may include eviction.

What to Do If You’ve Received a Written Notice of Intention to Withhold Rent

If your tenant provides you with a written notice of intention to withhold rent due to a problem in the home covered under some state laws, the simplest thing to do is fix the problem within the seven-day window. Once fixed within that time frame, the tenant must pay rent as usual on the day it is due. If you are unable to do this, you can fix the issue and the rent will be due at the normal time the following month.

 

By : admin | November 11, 2020 | Evictions

How Can I Evict My Tenant

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Eviction Can Be A Complex Road

It’s something few landlords actually want to do — evict their tenant. However, in some cases eviction is necessary when a tenant violates their lease agreement or refuses to pay rent in a timely manner. Here are some steps to take if evicting your tenant is the best move for your real estate business.

Do You Have Grounds for Eviction?

The first step is to determine if you have a right to evict your tenant. More often than not, tenants are evicted for nonpayment of rent on time, or for violating the lease. Examples of lease violations include destroying the property, having pets if you have instilled a no-pet policy, or manufacturing or selling drugs on the premises. It’s always a good idea to check with an attorney beforehand to ensure that you have a solid legal ground to proceed with an eviction.

Check the Lease to Ensure You’re Up to Code

As a landlord, you also have a few things within the lease agreement that you must adhere to. Make sure that you’re up to code on everything before you hand out the eviction notice. If any repairs need to be made to make the property safe and inhabitable according to your state’s law, they need to be done prior to eviction.

Warn Your Tenant

It’s in your best interest to send a warning letter to your tenant. This letter should detail their lease violation and your intent to evict if they do not remedy the violation immediately. When an eviction is on the table, send any letters or communication to your tenant via certified mail. This way, you have proof that they received the communication.

File an Eviction Notice

If your tenant still has not remedied the lease agreement violations, eviction is your next step. We can help you obtain an eviction notice accordingly. For example, there are different timelines for how much notice you are required to give your tenant based on what type of violation they have made and what state you reside in. A 3-day notice may be sufficient for nonpayment of rent, while some situations require a full 30-day notice. Review our services to learn what your state requires and how to proceed.

Evictions can be challenging, but with the help of a landlordwiz.com, you can be certain that you are following the correct process for eviction and protecting yourself legally from any retaliation on the part of your tenant.

By : admin | October 15, 2020 | Evictions

Three Mistakes Landlords Should Avoid

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Complying As The Landlord

As a property owner, you have a responsibility to comply with the law as it relates to eviction. Although it can be a frustrating experience to live through this, following relevant laws and rules can assist you with the preparation and management of your case. A landlord is eligible to evict a tenant for failure to vacate the premises after a lease agreement has expired, if the tenant causes damage to the property and it leads to substantial property value decrease, if the tenant has violated a provision of the rental contract or non-payment of rent.

Every State Has Unique Guidelines

A landlord has to use the eviction process and every state requires separate guidelines. However, you must give termination notice. Ignoring eviction rules such as shutting off the utilities is one of the most common mistakes that landlords make. A second mistake made by landlords in the eviction process is engaging in invasion of privacy before the tenant has vacated the property. Trying to spy on the tenants to figure out what they are doing, could actually allow the tenants to file a lawsuit against you for violation for privacy.

Evidence Is Important

The more evidence they have in their favor, the easier it will be for them to potentially pursue damages in court. Another common issue faced by landlords as it relates to evictions has to do with getting rid of the abandoned property. You must treat any property left behind by the tenant as abandoned and you must notify the tenant about the cost for storage, where to claim the property, how to claim it and how long the tenant has to claim the items. If property stays unclaimed and it is worth more than a particular amount, you can sell the property at a public sale after publishing the notice in a local newspaper.

Value Of A Landlord Tenant Attorney

The landlord can throw it away or keep it away if it is of extremely low value. Consulting with an experienced landlord-tenant eviction attorney in your state is extremely valuable for clarifying your rights and following the procedure effectively as a property owner.

 

By : admin | September 13, 2020 | Evictions

How Long Does An Eviction Take?

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Will My Eviction Be Handled Quickly?

An eviction is not necessarily the most pleasant experience. The fact of the matter is that far too often you will not be dealing with a simple non-renewal of lease. More and more landlords are dealing with non-payment situations and each of their circumstances will be different.

A Simple Notice Might Help

In some cases, a notice will do the trick. Often, a simple notice will give a tenant that is already on their way out the motivation to get moving along. Some tenants hold off on moving until they actually get the notice. It seems counterintuitive but many tenants feel that they have some leverage and it isn’t until the moment that they receive the actual notice that they begin the process of packing up and leaving the property.

State Laws and Guidelines

The process of eviction will be dependant on your individual state laws and guidelines.  Some states are tenant-friendly and you may experience frustration with adjournment after adjournment. The key is to understand your state’s policies. In addition to the state guidelines, the eviction process is also reliant on the courts themselves. If there are grievances there may be a back and forth and the court may even allow the tenant additional time to move. It all depends on the type of eviction case and your city and state of the residence.

Default

There will be some tenants that do not even bother to show up for court. In those instances, you may get a default judgment against them. In that case, the tenant may be removed from the property much sooner. Some judges will order an eviction in a matter of weeks and that can be followed by the need to have a marshall or sheriff assist in removing the tenant.

If the tenant decides to fight the eviction, this can extend the period of time that they take to move as the court may allow for extra time depending on the circumstances surrounding the eviction and the tenant’s means to move. The process of eviction can take days to months between the initial notice and court proceedings.

By : admin | August 9, 2020 | Evictions

How Long Before I Can Send An Eviction Notice?

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How Soon Can I Evict A Tenant?

Regardless of where you own a rental property, one thing remains the same in nearly every state in America. You will not be able to start the eviction process unless and until you are within your legal bounds to terminate the tenancy.  In most cases, this requires that you provide a notice to the tenant, in most states, that notice will be in writing.  Once the notice has been provided, and the tenant does not vacate, the process of legal eviction through the court can proceed. In some states, you can provide a 3-day notice however, it is best to check with your state laws as many states also provide a 7-day notice.  The notice timeline will solely depend on your state law.

Types Of Notices

The general language used will be similar in most states however, the common terminology is listed below:

Notice To Quit  (Non-Payment)

A notice to quit is generally used in cases where the landlord is owed money by the tenant. The landlord will provide the tenant with a notice allowing for a number of days under which the tenant must pay the money owed or vacate. There is also a Notice To Quit for non-renewal and applies to landlords that do not plan on renewing a tenant’s lease.

 Notice To Cure (violation of rental lease)

A notice to cure is generally used when a tenant has violated the terms of the lease agreement. This can refer to moving another person without consent/permission or authorization and can also apply for instances of pets and drug use. The landlord typically provides notice for a specified number of days under which the tenant must correct the issues (cure) or vacate.

Termination Notice

The termination notice is generally used when the landlord is no longer willing to accept rent due to continued violations and the landlord simply wants the tenant to vacate and retain possession of his rental.  This is usually the result of regularly paying the rent late, violating the lease regularly, causing or creating a dangerous environment to other tenants as well as involvement in illegal activity.

It’s important to note that some states do not even provide for a notice in the law so it is best that you use a qualified service to serve your notice and or speak to an attorney for assistance.

By : admin | July 9, 2020 | Evictions