It seems easy. Your renter is a deadbeat, and you want them out of your property. So why does it take so long to evict a tenant?
Unlike signing a lease agreement, a legal process so informal sometimes it’s done online, an eviction is a court process. A process that can be as acrimonious as a divorce.
Tenants are afforded legal rights that, when abused, can be used to delay the eviction for months.
First, the tenant has the right to contest the grounds for the eviction. The landlord will claim that the lease was broken, or a law was violated. Either way, the judge must be convinced that there is good cause to boot the tenant. If the judge grows sympathetic to the tenant, they may continue to live in your rental unit.
To begin the eviction process, notice must be given to the tenant — even if they disappeared or are refusing to accept service of the notice. If there is the slightest defect in the notice, it’s thrown out. A new one must be served, and the clock reset.
After being notified of the pending court case, the tenant has the right to challenge the eviction. While that commonly consists of a sweeping denial of whatever they are accused of doing, the tenant also can raise defenses at this time. That means challenges to the habitability of the unit, failure to make repairs or unfair treatment. Often, this is the first time any of these complaints have come to light.