Starting the eviction process in Palm Beach is already a stressful and expensive process. Making common mistakes can make it even more difficult for landlords.
Sometimes you run into a tenant who is just a nightmare, and the only solution is to evict them. Whether it’s complete damage to your property, refusal to pay rent, or constantly breaching the lease, you as a landlord have the right to terminate the lease and make the tenant leave.
Due to the complicated legal nature of an eviction, many amateur landlords make mistakes that jeopardize the entire process and could have the entire case thrown out. If you are planning to proceed with an eviction, be sure to avoid these mistakes at all costs.
Putting the Eviction Off
It’s nice to have faith in some people, but when it comes to hoping your tenant will eventually pay their rent, it’s most likely a lost cause. Don’t delay starting the eviction process because you think your tenant will change and start abiding by the rules stated in the lease.
Putting it off will only lead to more stress for you and could result in even more money lost. Not to mention, it pushes the timeline of when you can finally find a qualified tenant to live in your Palm Beach rental off.
Failure to Properly Notify the Tenant
Remember, evicting a tenant is a complicated situation with many procedures to follow. One of those procedures is properly notifying the tenant of the eviction.
Each state has its own laws concerning when landlords must notify their tenants. However, all notices must be written and delivered to the tenant to ensure they receive it.
Florida has three different types of notices landlords can use.
- Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit – The tenant has three days to either pay their rent or leave the property; otherwise, the landlord will pursue an eviction.
- Seven-Day Notice to Cure – The tenant has seven days to resolve any breach in the lease or leave the property; otherwise, the landlord can evict them.
- Seven-Day Unconditional Quit Notice – The tenant must leave the property in one week or face eviction; this can only be used under certain circumstances.
As this is the very first step of starting the eviction process, landlords must be careful to do it correctly.
Changing the Locks
Until a judge has ruled an eviction valid, the tenant still has a right to live in the rental property. Oftentimes, landlords want to get the tenant out as fast as possible, so they change the locks while the tenant is out of the house.
You may have seen movies where a tenant finds their belongings on the street and can’t get into their apartment. While it can be a comedic or dramatic scene, it is against the law in most states.
Shutting Off the Utilities
As a landlord, it is your responsibility to provide tenants with a property that is habitable. This means it has electricity, running water, and heat in the cooler months. If you shut off these utilities, the property then becomes inhabitable.
In the case of an inhabitable property, tenants may have the right to sue their landlord. If you’re in the process of an eviction, another lawsuit is the last thing you want to deal with.
Lack of Evidence
Just like in your favorite courtroom dramas, you’ll have to collect and present evidence to a judge as to why you have the right to evict your tenant. The best evidence you can have is directly related to how they breached the lease.
Examples of evidence include:
- Text or email conversations
- Financial statements
- Copy of the lease
- Video footage
Without evidence, you will have a thin case that won’t necessarily hold up in court. If you go through the eviction process only to have it denied and your tenant is allowed to stay, they could become even more problematic than before.
Not to mention, you could lose a lot of money and have nothing to show for it.
Fair Housing Law Violations
Fair Housing Laws were enacted in 1968 to protect specific classes of people from discrimination. These seven classes include gender, color, race, religion, disability, national origin, and family status.
If you are found discriminating against your tenant who is part of any of these protected classes during the eviction process, you could not only lose your case but be fined thousands of dollars. Violating the Fair Housing laws is not something that should be taken lightly.
As a landlord, you should already be aware of these laws and how to follow them. If you’re found in violation of them, you could find yourself in a mound of trouble.
Not Seeking Professional Help
When you don’t know how to fix something on your car, you call a mechanic. When something is wrong with your toilet, you call a plumber. When you need to start the eviction process, you should seek a professional to help.
Due to the legal and complicated nature of evictions, the best thing a landlord can do is to find a lawyer or property manager who knows the process and has done it before. They will handle the paperwork, help you collect evidence, and advise you on how to approach the situation.
Avoid Mistakes with Real Property Management Sunstate
The one easy solution to making sure you avoid all common mistakes when filing an eviction is to work with a professional property management company and let them handle the process for you.
Real Property Management Sunstate can help you proceed with evictions and so much more with your rental property in Palm Beach. With our experienced team, we will fully manage your property, take care of maintenance requests, collect rent, and more to ensure you can relax and enjoy your passive income.
Contact us to see how we can help you avoid common landlord mistakes in Palm Beach today!
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.