A thorough screening process and a crystal clear lease agreement can help prevent less-than-ideal tenants from moving in, but it isn’t a complete guarantee. The longer you’re in the landlord business, the more likely it becomes for unruly or unqualified tenants to slip through the cracks. Unfortunately, evicting a tenant isn’t easy, as it’s a lengthy legal process that may not even result in eviction. Fortunately, there are alternatives to eviction that can help you get rid of a tenant much easier and faster.
Try Communication and Mediation
While this isn’t an option for every situation, as some tenants are just incorrigible, having a calm, professional, and respectful conversation can help. You can hire a mediator to listen to both sides and help both parties come to a conclusion or a compromise while staying impartial. While their opinion or determination is not legally binding, a tenant is much more likely to listen to a third party. Worst case scenario, nothing changes, and you have more proof of delinquency during the eviction process. Best case scenario, the mediator suggests that the tenant moves out, and they do so.
Help Them Move Out
Often, if you don’t like a tenant, they probably aren’t too keen on you either and are just as eager to leave but don’t have the ability to do so. In these cases, consider offering them the help they need to move out and find a new place. As a landlord, you likely have connections that they don’t, such as lowered rates on moving trucks and info on other properties and landlords. Approaching the situation with a positive and helpful attitude can make asking them to leave and getting them to go much easier. While you may not want to put in the extra effort, being willing and able to compromise are beneficial traits when dealing with difficult tenants.
Offer Cash for Keys
Cash for keys is essentially paying a tenant to leave the property voluntarily. While it’s not the most appealing solution to most landlords, it can be the most effective, especially when trying to find a solid alternative to eviction. Take the time to speak with the tenant so you can tell them what the problem is, and inform them that you will begin the eviction process if they remain on the property. Both parties can then decide on the amount and specific move-out date. However, be sure to conduct a move-out inspection in case you need to deduct anything from the deposit, return any leftover cash from the deposit, and ensure you get written or physical proof of the transaction.
Whether you use these alternatives or not, communication and documentation should be your main priorities. This way, if these methods don’t work, or you skip them altogether and head straight for eviction, you have proof of the problem, making it easier to build your case and protect yourself.