The best way to deal with evictions is to avoid them. This isn’t as complicated as it seems. With a rigorous screening process and frequent tenant communication, you can eliminate a lot of the stress and expense that comes with evictions. Good tenants are rarely evicted.
However, life happens, even to tenants who are well-screened and qualified. If you find yourself needing to evict a tenant, we recommend that you try to work something out so you don’t have to go through the whole process and lose valuable time and money. We also recommend that you hire a professional Seattle property management company. It’s very easy to make mistakes during the eviction process, and those mistakes can be costly.
Serving a 14-Day Pay or Vacate Notice
Before you can force a tenant out and change the locks, you need to provide that tenant with notice that you’ll be pursuing an eviction.
Most evictions are begun because rent has not been paid. While you can evict for other reasons, such as lease violations or criminal activity in the property, nonpayment of rent is most common. When rent has not been paid by the due date and any grace periods stipulated by your lease have come and gone, your immediate next step is to serve a 14 Day Pay or Vacate Notice. This requires your tenants to pay rent within those 14 days or move out of the home. If they don’t, you will move forward with eviction proceedings.
The wording and service of this notice is critical. A property management company can ensure you’re using the right forms and serving the notice the proper way. You can also rely on property managers to follow the 14-day timeline and take the next steps as soon as possible. Weekends count as part of the 14 days, but legal holidays do not.
Filing for an Unlawful Detainer
The next step will be to go to court and file for an Unlawful Detainer, which is the eviction. If this is going to be a straightforward eviction, the judge will rule in your favor and issue a Writ of Possession. If the tenants still do not leave your property, the sheriff will be summoned to enforce the Writ. It’s an uncomfortable and time-consuming process, and even the slightest mistake will send you back to start things over. This is why professional help is crucial.
Evictions Can be Emotional
No landlord wants to be the party putting tenants out of their home and on the streets. It can be very difficult to remain objective and professional during an eviction process. It’s hard to remember that you’re running a business, and that your tenants signed a lease and promised to pay rent every month. Having a professional property manager act as your agent during this process can relieve a large part of the emotional burden. You can be sure your property manager is making business decisions and not emotional ones.
We don’t like eviction any more than you do. But, if one has to be completed, we recommend you do it correctly and efficiently. Our team would be happy to help. Contact us at People’s Real Estate & Property Management for all of your eviction and Seattle property management needs.