Cash For Keys Vs. Eviction – Which Option Is Better?

cash for keys

As we rapidly approach the end of the CDC Eviction Moratorium, most landlords in Portland, and across the United States, will be looking at the date when they can finally move forward with residential evictions once again.

Even though evictions may seem like the only option for some tenants, the reality is that it’s not, because, cash for keys is also an option that landlords should be willing to consider as well.

Understanding Cash For Keys Vs. Eviction

When it comes to cash for keys, it’s quite simple as easy as it sounds, the landlord is going to give their tenant a financial incentive to move out of the rental property as quickly as possible but there are still several things that a landlord must do during the cash for keys process:

1. Explain to the tenant in detail what they need to do

Tell them that the unit must be in move-in ready condition when they leave, so they have to clean it and take care of any repairs. This saves in cleanup costs and reduces the chance that the tenant will damage the property on the way out.

2. Give the tenant a specific date they need to move out

Typically, a landlord will not give any more than four days to move. The point of cash for keys is to get them out of the property quickly.

3. Give a pay or vacate notice anyway

This is typically the first step in the eviction process. Just in case the tenant doesn’t leave, the landlord will not have lost much time.

4. Meet with the tenant

Next, the landlord has to meet the tenant at the property and verify that the unit is, indeed, “broom clean.” To be safe, the landlord should have someone accompany them.

5. Inspect the property

Make sure the tenant lived up to their end of the bargain. The home should be cleaned out and in good shape. If not, the property owner has to show the tenant what needs to be done and has to set a time when to come back. Never give the tenant money until they are 100% out and have handed over the key.

6. Sign the paperwork

Have the renter sign a simple document that relinquishes their tenancy at the property. This is protection in case they later say the landlord changed the locks on them or that they did not really move out. The tenant has to sign and date the document.

7. Hand over the cash

If the tenant has held up their part of the deal, the landlord can hand over the money and thank them for a positive transition. Then the locks have to be changed immediately. If there is a security deposit, a landlord may deduct past due rent but still needs to provide an itemized list of deductions. Make sure to check the state’s law on how to deal with the security deposit.

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