Buying rental properties can be a great type of long-term investment; however, managing them requires a lot of work and knowledge. If you are currently managing your properties yourself and need to evict a tenant, do you realize how vital it is to follow the legal procedures? If you end up using wrong methods, you could end up in a lot of trouble.

What methods are illegal?

There are a lot of people that manage their own rental properties who think they can use the following methods for eviction:

  • Changing the locks on the door
  • Removing things from a tenant's unit
  • Shutting off utilities
  • Threatening tenant or giving him or her a deadline to move out

While it might not make sense to you why these methods are illegal, there are laws in place that govern the ways landlords can evict tenants. Unfortunately, these methods are all illegal, even if a tenant is past-due on rent or is causing major problems to the unit or the neighborhood.

What kind of trouble can you get in?

If you have ever used these methods and have not gotten in trouble, you are lucky. If a tenant understands his or her rights, he or she could sue you for using any of the methods listed above. The bad part about this is that the tenant is likely to win, simply because you broke the rules on how to evict a tenant. If you want to prevent lawsuits from arising, you will need to learn the correct, legal methods for handling evictions.

What is the legal way to evict a tenant?

As a landlord, you have the legal right to evict a tenant for a number of reasons, but you must follow the legal procedures for this. The first step you must take to legally evict a tenant is filing an eviction notice with your local court. After doing this, the court will notify the tenant and a hearing date will be set up. Both you and the tenant must appear at the court hearing before a judge, and both parties will have the opportunity to tell their stories. If the tenant is behind on rent or is breaking any other rules, the judge will likely take your side and evict the tenant for you.

While it might not seem fair that you have to go through the court to handle an eviction, this is the law. If you do not have time to handle things like this, you could always hire a property management company like MacPherson's  Property Management to do it for you.