Landlord's Learning Center- Cutting Your Losses- Evict Sooner Rather Than Later

Property Manager with Investors Choice Property Management CAL BRE LIC# 01124954

Unlawful Detainer Actions (Evictions being the more commonly used term) are an unfortunate part of the Property Manager's job, and one that we hate to have to perform. In situations like these, the best that can be hoped for is a quick turnover with a minimum of damage, so here are a few pointers if you are a Landlord facing a possible Eviction with your tenant:

1. Do NOT make it personal. I have found over the past 16+ years as a property manager that the best approach one can take is a "sorrowful" one. As a Landlord, you are "sorry" that this situation has resulted in legal action, and while you can sympathize with your tenant's position (even if you can't, you pretend to), they have left you no other choice but to proceed with Eviction. Whatever small satisfaction one might derive from letting the tenant know in no uncertain terms "exactly" what you are thinking about them is nothing compared to the kind of property damage a vindictive tenant can do to your home. Keep it simple and professional, but take no personal satisfaction in doing (or at least try not to let it show).

2. Do NOT stall. We recently advised an owner client that he should let us commence Eviction proceedings against his non-paying tenant on April 7, 2009. At that time, the tenant owed April rent. Contrary to our advice, the owner tried to "work it out" with the tenant, and made a verbal agreement to let them stay until May 10, 2009. Here we are at May 13 with no rent and a non-paying tenant STILL in the property.

3. Count the costs, then cut your losses. Our client's main reason for avoiding the Eviction route was cost. He did not want to pay the $675 in attorney fees, court costs and sheriff's fees to get the tenant out. However, I pointed out to him again today that at $1150 per month (the current rent), the tenant is "in our owner's pocket" for $1650 with no end in sight because no legal action has been taken. Had the client acted on our recommendation, the tenant would likely have been shown to the curb by the sheriff by now.

4. Get Eviction Protection if it is offered. Many property management companies (ICPM being one of them) offer Eviction protection programs where, for a nominal monthly fee (ours is $10), the property management company will cover the legal costs to evict a problem tenant (subject to certain circumstances covered in the management agreement).

Have a question about rental management, landlord-tenant relations, or just want to find out more? We welcome your questions. ICPM is a small, service-oriented property management company for discerning investors looking for "a bit more" than they are used to getting from property management. Our business is over 95% word-of-mouth referral, we do NO sales, and property management is our only business. Find out what we mean when we say:

"Experience Property Management The Way it Should Be."

Thomas R. Martin

Broker/Owner, ICPM

(916) 770-9707 Work

(916) 722-2121 FAX

Comments (5)

Nannette Hilliard
Century 21 Zwygart Green County Real Estate - Monroe, WI

oh yes I have learned the hard way many times.

May 13, 2009 12:48 PM
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Evening Thomas,  Where were you when I had a non-performing tenant ?

May 13, 2009 01:12 PM
Anthony Stokes-Pereira
Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty - Nanuet, NY

Hi Thomas;

Great post with super information for landlord's. Thank you for showing.

May 13, 2009 01:34 PM
Thomas R. Martin Broker/Owner ICPM
Investors Choice Property Management - Sacramento, CA
Property Management the way it SHOULD be.

This market affects us all in some fashion. Frankly, I am surprised we are only in a position of needing to evict 1 of our 115+ tenants (knocking on wood). Bottom line, you have to be fair while staying firm. It has been a hard learned lesson, and not one I am inclined to forget.

May 13, 2009 04:57 PM
Theodora Wu
TJ Investments - Burien, WA

Good information.  Evictions are never fun, but from time are necessary.

Oct 07, 2009 07:22 PM