Recently I read a blog about tenants and how some of them respond to their landlords. I can relate to that. I used to own a Property Management company with more than 50+ units and I have seen some crazy things.
The tenants have a lot of rights and whether they are behind in rent, not paying, or trashing the place - you need to be very careful and follow the "Landlord/Tenant" laws for your city and/or state. In North Carolina, once you have filed for eviction with the court, the tenant still has time to vacate and that time can be prolonged depending on the circumstances.
Landlords should use precautions with tenants. When going to the property that the tenant(s) are currently living in, the landlord should, if possible, give a 24 hour notice. When you do go to the property, try to have someone go with you. Some tenants may accuse you of stealing their personal items if you go while they are not at home. That's another reason why you want someone to go with you - to be a witness. You may even want to take photos (with the correct date) or video in case you need to provide evidence in court.
I have had tenants to pretty much destroy the homes that they were living in before they left. I learned the hard way that if you do not possess before and after evidence, you are out of luck and out of pocket.
* Not all tenants or landlords are alike - some are better than others. But there is no reason not to be safe than sorry!