How to Evict a Tenant: The Process Explained

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Evicting a tenant is never easy. Even the best tenant screening process can fail you sometimes, and you may end up with a tenant that's no longer a good fit for your property.

Do you know how to evict a tenant the right way? We're here to help. Keep reading for a brief guide on the eviction process. 

Do Your Research

Before you consider evicting your tenant, make sure that you're within your rights to do so. You want to avoid a wrongful eviction and the resulting legal issues that can come alongside it.

Read the lease that you have with your tenants. What part of the lease are they breaking? Would it be in your best interest to avoid eviction and have a conversation, or is the issue serious enough to notify the tenant of eviction right away? 

Common reasons to evict a tenant include:

  • Nonpayment of rent
  • Illegal activity
  • Property damage
  • Other (legal) lease agreement violations

Reason With Your Tenant

Most of the time, it's best to avoid the legal troubles that come with even a valid eviction. If possible, and if you have a good relationship with your tenant, try to talk to them before you go through with the eviction process.

You can leave a notice on their door that offers them a set amount of time before you formally evict them. Most of the time, it's a matter of days. For example, you may offer a tenant 3 to 5 days to pay their rent if you're evicting them for nonpayment.

You may be able to work something out with your tenant, like a payment plan. If they've done something else to go against their lease, it may be best to ask them to stop instead of formally evicting them. They may not realize what they're doing wrong. 

You may also be able to convince your tenant to leave without going through the eviction process. This is in both of your best interests.

Give Formal Notice

If reasoning with your tenant isn't an option, it's time to give your tenant a formal notice. 

For nonpayment of rent or other lease violations, this is similar to the "reasoning" step. You leave an official notice on their door that offers them a set number of days to fix the problem before you file the eviction with the court.

You could also give them an "unconditional quit" notice which will not allow them to make changes before their eviction. Check your local eviction laws to make sure that you're within your rights to do this. 

Dealing With the Courts: the Basics

After you give formal notice, it's time to file the eviction with the court. You'll have to show proof that you gave the tenant an eviction notice, pay a fee, and plan a date for your hearing. The tenant will get a court summons.

During the hearing, bring all of your necessary paperwork as well as records of the conversations between you and your problematic tenants. 

If the judge rules in favor of you, you can then formally evict your tenant.

That's How to Evict a Tenant

Learning how to evict a tenant the right way is necessary for any landlord.  Make sure that you have proper grounds for eviction, try to reason with your tenants, give official notice, and (if necessary) take the eviction to the court. 

Do you need help navigating the legal issues that come alongside being a landlord in Houston? At Terra Residential Services, we can offer that and more. Contact us to talk to our experienced property managers today.