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When Eviction is The Wrong Call

Stressed Honolulu Property Manager on the PhoneAs a Honolulu landlord and rental property owner, evictions are sometimes difficult, but often necessary. It’s understandable to think of eviction when you’re faced with a difficult tenant. However, there are other means to deal with the situation. Evictions can be quite time-consuming for both you and your tenant; and, very costly, too! In fact, most of the time, neither the property owner nor the tenant benefits from the eviction process. Hence, evicting a tenant isn’t necessarily the best scenario. As such, you and your tenant would benefit from finding alternatives to eviction.

Your Otherwise Good Tenant Falls Behind on Rent

A good tenant is key to owning a profitable rental property. Sometimes even good tenants can run into economic difficulties, lose a job, or otherwise find themselves unable to meet their rent payment. There’s no doubt that non-payment of rent is a violation of their lease. But evicting a tenant for missing one or even several rent payments might be too much. This is especially true if the tenant was previously paying on time and is doing a good job keeping up with cleaning and property maintenance.

As such, a better alternative to eviction would be to work something out with your tenant so that he/she can get caught up in the missing rent payments. There’s not much to lose in this approach, especially when you know that your tenant’s financial difficulties are temporary. This is a great way to avoid the expense of evicting and replacing your tenant, all while earning their gratitude, as well. Be willing to take a short-term financial hit, knowing that in the long term, you will be able to recover all of the missing rent payments, all while being able to hold on to a good tenant, too.

You’d Rather Keep Your Money

The eviction process can get very expensive, and that’s not just on the legal fees. When your tenant knows about your plans to evict him out of the rental property, it’s quite likely that they will stop paying rent. Because of this, the cleaning or upkeep of the property will most likely stop, too. This often leads to both lost income and higher cleaning and repair expenses.

To avoid the expense and hassle of the eviction process, you might even consider paying your tenant to move out. This type of “cash for keys” arrangement could enable a tenant experiencing financial difficulty to leave on good terms or to allow them to leave the property sooner than later. Even though it may seem awkward to offer money to someone who owes you money, but a lump sum cash payment of several hundred dollars is far less than you’d spend forcing the tenant out through an eviction.

You Don’t Have Clear Legal Grounds

In conclusion, an eviction might not always solve the situation — it probably might even lead to more legal problems! This should be a huge red flag for any property owner. Why? Because it’s very possible that your legal grounds for eviction are all but ambiguous. If your tenant has complained about the property’s habitability, either directly to you or the local housing authority, and you haven’t taken steps to address the complaint, your attempt to evict the tenant could be deemed retaliatory and dismissed.

Also, an eviction might be interpreted as discriminating against a tenant who is part of a protected class. Evicting a tenant based on their age, religion, skin color, family status, sexual preferences, and more is illegal, and you could end up getting sued by your tenant if you try to do so.

Finally, don’t fall into the trap of accepting partial rent payments before or after eviction for non-payment of rent. Accepting any amount of rent from the tenant will only mess up any legal grounds you have for eviction. This is because accepting partial payments creates an implicit agreement between you and your tenant that a judge will likely deem a continuation of your lease agreement, even if it isn’t in writing. If the legal grounds for eviction are not well defined, then it would be better for you to hold off on the decision so that you can gather more details.

 

One of the best ways to avoid evictions entirely is to find a good tenant with a strong history of on-time rental payments. How do you do that, though, when you have other things to do? At Real Property Management Alliance, we carefully screen all rental applicants to find only the best possible candidates for your rental property. Then, if any problems do arise in the future, our Honolulu property management experts can help guide you through the best course of action to take. To learn more, contact us online or call 808-427-0611 today!

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.