I often hear from landlords who want to "immediately" remove a tenant from their property for non-payment of rent. Often the landlord has been exceedingly patient, having received no rent for weeks, even months. Sometimes the landlord was patient because the tenant lost a job, or a family member passed away. Other times the landlord was patient because the tenant had medical bills that were unforeseen. In every case, the landlord feels hurt, angry, and taken advantage of. The only reward the landlord receives for their kindness is having to pay the mortgage on the rental property without receiving any rent! ------ While I can sympathize with the anger and frustration in this situation (I own rental property too) I must warn you, if you don't follow the law regarding evictions, not only will you not collect your past due rent, but you might also be writing a check to the tenant and/or a good lawyer to get you out of trouble! The following are only a few examples of unlawful evictions a
OTHER THINGS YOU MUST NOT DO
While the two examples above may be very obvious, there are other things a landlord can do which, if done, would violate the law. One landlord asked me if it was alright to enter upon the premises to remove all the appliances in the house. Another landlord asked me if it was okay to remove the front door from the house. Yet another landlord asked me if it was okay to have the utilities disconnected because the tenant had failed to pay for the utilities that were in the landlord's name. My advice is NO, NO, and NO! If you try any of these actions you could very well end up, not only having to keep the tenant instead of evicting them, but also paying punitive damages for your intentional interference with the tenants right of possession outside of the court process. (See especially Albert Properties, Inc. v. Watkins, 143 Ga.App. 184 (1977). ----- Landlords who have violated the rules have attempted to "explain away" their actions by stating that the tenant "violated the rules first" by
WHY YOU MUST MOVE FORWARD WITH EVICTION, EVEN IF THE TENANT LEAVES
Many landlords ask me if it is okay to stop the proceeding once the tenant has "abandoned" the property. There are several reasons why I advise landlords to move forward. First, unless you move forward you will not be able to obtain a money judgment against the tenant. Second, and perhaps more importantly (especially if you believe it will be impossible to collect a money judgment against the tenant), there is a possibility that the tenant could come back and claim you unlawfully evicted them! ----- Suppose you file the paperwork with the Court. The sheriff goes out to the property and serves the tenants with the proper paperwork. The tenants do not respond to the court paperwork but instead, apparently move out of the property. Assuming that they did not return the keys, and, they do not remove all of their personal property from the premises, you CANNOT re-enter the premises, even if they only leave behind a few old clothes and an (apparently) broken television. If you were to remo
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Always consult a local attorney experienced in Landlord/Tenant law, each case is different and the ideas in this article may not be appropriate for your specific circumstances.
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