How To Get Rid of a Bad Tenant. In this video, Grace Property Management President, Marc Cunningham identifies what qualifies as a bad tenant and outlines the steps for landlords to take when handling a non-paying or lease-violating tenant.
For more information on proper handling of a bad tenant, check out our blog: http://www.rentgrace.com/how-do-i-get-rid-of-a-bad-tenant-blog
Let's look at the nonpayment of rent issue. Colorado state law is pretty clear on that. In those instances where a tenant has problems paying rent, you want to move quickly but compassionately to either get the tenant back to a paying on time scenario or get them out of the property.
We tell tenants who have problems paying their rent, "Look, we can do one or two things. You can do one or two things. You can move, or you can pay on time, but you can't not pay on time and stay in the property. That's just not an option." That can be a hard thing to do as a landlord. You want to be compassionate. You want to work with them, but you also have to treat this like a business, and you can't be taken advantage of by professional tenants. When a tenant doesn't pay rent, you want to have a very clearcut policy in place on when rent is due, when rent is late, how you will enforce the late fee, when will you serve and begin the processing of a three-day legal eviction process. The process looks like this.
Your lease agreement has your rent due on a particular date. It's very common to have a lease agreement that gives somewhat of a grace period on the rent due date. Let's say that's the third day of the month. Rent's due on the first. Tenant has until the third. The third comes and goes. Tenant hasn't paid. Be proactive. Pick up the phone. Drive to the tenant's property. See what's going on. Tenants are scared where they're in this situation, they don't have the rent, so they may not reach out to you. You as the landlord want to be proactive. Reach out to them. Find out what's going on. If they're not able to immediately bring in payment, at that point, you want to prepare and post the legal state required notice, commonly referred to as a three-day notice for demand.
What that does, and it has to be physically served upon the property, that starts the clock ticking, the legal clock, and it gives the tenant three additional days per Colorado state law to come up the rent amount in full. If they bring that payment in during that three-day period, you are required by law to accept that payment, which you probably want to do anyway. Once the three days is up, at that point in time, if they do come in with payment, you do not have to legally accept that. Once that three days is up, you can initiate the next phase of the eviction process. You typically want to involve an attorney at this part of the eviction, but that notice would be forwarded to your attorney, and they would set an actual court date with a judge for the judge to grant possession of the property back to you for nonpayment of rent as the landlord of the property.
We find that when that happens, in the majority of the cases, those tenants know they haven't paid. They typically don't even show up for the court proceedings, which is the best case scenario. If they do show up, they can file an answer, and they can request their day in court. When that happens, when a tenant doesn't pay rent and you go through that legal eviction process, it's pretty cut and dry. You don't want to mess around with that. You want to be compassionate, but you want to move quickly to move a tenant out of a property who is not able to pay their rent or make some type of an arrangement with them. If you get in the habit of taking rent late, state law says and judicial law says you could potentially forego your ability to either charge a late fee or to maintain the status of saying rent is always due on the first.
You can't be very wishy washy with this. You've got to hold to the terms of your lease agreement. Now the second type of reason you may want to get a tenant out is more for lease violations. This is where it gets sticky. This is where it's not as cut and dry. Are those lease violations because they're doing a bad job of maintaining the lawn? Maybe they have a small rent balance, and they haven't paid that in some period of time. Maybe they're not keeping the property in as high of quality of condition as you would like them to do. What you need to decide as the landlord is how far do you want to push that. Do you really want to evict a tenant maybe because their lawn's a little bit long? Probably not, but at what point in time does it come that you do have to evict because they're neglecting the lawn or neglecting the interior of the property?
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