During the years that you own your investment property, you may encounter a troublesome tenant who has violated their lease in some way or has been late paying their rent. When these situations occur, you will send your tenant a notice which gives them a set period of time to “cure” the problem or they will face eviction.
Depending on the lease violation, you will give your tenant the option to do the following:
- Pay their rent or leave.
- Stop breaking the rules, “cure” the violation or leave.
- An unconditional notice to move out of the rental property.
Remember that you must not include any language in your notice that could be considered to be “threatening” and it must be written in a manner that respects the individual rights of the tenant.
If your tenant has failed to cure the problem (usually within 3-30 days), you will then send them an eviction notice and processed to evicting them from the rental property.
How To Move Forward With Eviction
The key to success before moving forward with eviction is to make sure that you’ve thoroughly documented how your tenant has violated their lease. If possible, you should include pictures of the lease violation so that you can submit detailed evidence that shows proof that your tenant violated their lease.
Besides keeping plenty of documentation that shows proof of why you’re evicting your tenant, you should also present documented proof that you followed the rules of the state of Oregon and have your tenant plenty of time to “cure” their lease violation.
Tip – Make sure to use the right notice because it’s highly possible that a legal savvy tenant can use the laws to their advantage and remain in the property rent-free while the case plays out in court.
Most tenants who have failed to pay their rent on time will comply with a 7-day notice to pay or quit but it’s possible that a tenant who receives the notice for another type of lease violation will want to answer the notice and meet you in court.
During a court proceeding, the tenant will have the benefit of pre-trial discovery. This typically consists of them requesting documents, requests for admissions and them requesting depositions which may also consist of requesting that you testify under oath.
Let’s say that the tenant wins their case, if this happens, you may be required to compensate them for the fees that they paid, court costs and possible damages.
If the tenant has not paid their rent because they considered your rental property to be inhabitable, you will be required to fix the damages while they continue living in the rental property. During this time, the tenant will pay their rent which will be deposited into a court bank account. Once the repairs have been made, the court will appoint an inspector who will certify that the property can now be considered “habitable” and the funds will be released to you.
Now, let’s say that you win the case, you can request law enforcement to remove the tenant within a set number of days. In some cases, the court may be able to offer the tenant an extended grace period especially if it’s during the middle of winter and there is snow on the ground.
What happens if the tenant files for bankruptcy? In this situation, they may be able to file an “automatic stay” which would only delay their eviction by another 30 days but the good news is that the eviction would still move forward.
Hiring an attorney or self-representation?
Once you move forward with evicting your tenant from your rental property, you’re going to be faced with the question of should you hire an attorney to represent yourself or should you opt for self-representation?
Although the eviction process is easier in some states than others, the reality is that an eviction is a legal proceeding and you should at the very least consult with an attorney before moving forward with evicting your tenant.
If you don’t feel comfortable representing yourself in court, I suggest hiring an attorney because they could save you the time, money and hassle of saying the wrong thing in court, not having enough evidence or doing something wrong which could make it easy for your tenant to stay in the property on a mere technicality.
Failure To Cure – Tips for Hiring the Right Attorney
#1 – Contact The State Bar – This is the smartest move to make because they can always refer you to a licensed attorney in the local area.
#2 – Review an Online Attorney Service – Let’s say that you don’t want to hire an attorney just yet, in this case, you should consider consulting with an attorney online because they may be able to answer your legal questions and refer you to an attorney in the local area.
#3 – Ask For Referrals – If you have friends or family members who may have used an attorney in the past, especially for real estate matters, you should consider asking them for a referral to their attorney because it will save you time and money to get referred to an attorney by someone that you know.
#4 – Make Sure They Offer Excellent Service – During the process of hiring an attorney it’s best to hire someone who offers excellent service and demonstrates their commitment to service BEFORE you hire them. If they are not accessible before you hire them, this is a good indicator of the level of service you will receive after you become their client.
#5 – Always Ask Lots of Questions – When initially consulting with an attorney, always ask lots of questions about their level of service, ideas, and recommendations about your case. This is important because it will show you if they really are experienced with landlord-tenant law or not. If you don’t feel comfortable with their level of service, don’t hesitate to continue looking for an attorney until you find someone that you want to work with.
Summons and Complaint
If you move forward with filing a summons and complaint, it’s best to first check with the regulations with the state of Oregon regarding what type of documentation must be followed when evicting a tenant.
There are endless reasons that you can take a tenant to court. Some of the more common reasons a landlord can sue a tenant include unpaid rent, unpaid utility bills, damage to the rental property, unapproved alterations to the rental, recovering lost rent or your tenant’s illegal move out.
Contact Rent Portland Homes
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