Part of the more complex aspects of owning League City rental properties is realizing and understanding well the concept of unlawful detainer. By definition, an unlawful detainer refers to a tenant who continues to live in a rental property even after having no legal right to do so. When a circumstance of unlawful detainer has come about, rental property owners can then use it as a legal basis to begin the eviction process. But, as a matter of fact, evicting a tenant on the basis of unlawful detainer requires a court case and, in some cases, a jury trial. In the next paragraphs, we’ll check out the basics of lawful detainer and some examples of an unlawful detainer situation – and what to do when it arises.
A Legal Basis for Eviction
For many rental property owners, the concept of unlawful detainer will generally emerge to be relevant if you must evict a tenant. Conceding that unlawful detainer is not the only legal basis for eviction, it does offer landlords a suitable manner to sue for a tenant’s removal. Evicting a tenant is, at all times, an awkward situation, and there are specific rules and regulations in every state that must be carefully followed. In the event that a tenant has possession of the property, a landlord cannot exactly kick them out – for whatever reason. This involves violating the lease, not paying rent, or even if you cancel the lease. Instead, it’s relevant to cautiously document the situation and understand your legal basis for eviction before making your case to the appropriate local courts.
There are many situations in which unlawful detainer can apply. Keep reading to be aware more concerning the three most typical.
Example 1: The tenant refuses to leave after the lease ends.
Part of the most conventional justifications you might use unlawful detainer to evict a tenant is if the tenant refuses to move out even after the lease has expired. Legally, you cannot force a tenant to move out if their lease ends. Changing the locks, calling the sheriff, or any other attempts to do so are illegal and could end up with you being sued by your tenant. Instead, what you can do if you have a tenant who refuses to move out, you should document the situation and file a petition with the local court. You must likewise make it a point that your tenants are served with the court documents. From here on, you will have to follow the eviction process laid out by the court system to get a judge’s ruling before moving forward with the rest of the eviction process.
Example 2: The tenant stops paying rent.
Another prevalent reason to have unlawful detainer evict a tenant is because they stopped paying their rent. Nonpayment of rent is a familiar circumstance and has a lot of different root causes. Certain tenants may be waiting for paychecks or may simply forget. But certainly, if you have a tenant who has not paid their rent after multiple reminders and requests, you may need to resort to eviction. If that occasion comes about, be certain to surely follow any grace period set out in your lease, and allow your tenant one more chance to pay. If you don’t, your petition may not be at all successful in court.
Example 3: The tenant refuses to leave after the landlord terminates the lease.
An unlawful detainer may result if your tenant refuses to move out even after you have terminated your lease with them. There are countless reasons why a landlord may terminate a lease, whether on the basis of the tenant violating one or more terms or for other reasons. If you must terminate a lease, and your tenant refuses to leave, you can then make use of the legal basis of unlawful detainer to petition the court to order them to move out. Doesn’t matter what, make sure to document everything and follow the legal process step by step. Even a case of unlawful detainer is not an excuse to violate a tenant’s rights.
Once you have a judgment from the court, you will usually receive a writ that gives your tenant one more chance to move out of your rental property voluntarily. In the majority of states, this writ is delivered to your tenant by local law enforcement, not by you directly. With a judgment and a writ in hand, you can then procure the service of law enforcement to remove your tenant and regain possession of your property.
Despite that they are quite a common part of owning rental property, evictions are a time-consuming legal process that can be a serious hassle. If you need assistance with a tenant who is in violation of their lease or refuses to leave, why not give Real Property Management Prestige a call? Our professionals can help you implement the eviction process safely and legally and get your property back in your possession as quickly as possible. To have a word with a League City property manager, contact us online or call at 281-984-7463 today!
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