Bad renters happen—even with the best planning, screening, and management. While working with a professional property manager minimizes the potential of placing bad residents in your Detroit investment property, sometimes good renters go bad or bad renters sneak through screening and become terrible residents mid-lease.
When you've exhausted every option to encourage a renter to catch up on past-due rent or follow the lease rules, eviction becomes the next step to remove a resident and get your property back on track. However, before changing the locks and dumping their stuff, make sure you follow the law to evict a renter (and avoid a lawsuit). Here's what investors need to know!
Note: This article isn't a substitute for legal advice from a Detroit lawyer. Use these insights as a guide and consult a lawyer and property manager to work through the legal eviction process.
Renters Have Rights (Even When They're Wrong)
We'll say it again: get a lawyer before starting the eviction process or taking any action to remove a renter from a Detroit investment property. Even when they break the rules, renters have rights. Rental property owners must follow the legal eviction process—or risk facing a lawsuit from the residents you're trying to remove from the home.
The right lawyer and a property manager will review efforts you've made to resolve a renter dispute to be sure you've complied with local, state, and federal laws. If eviction is the only reasonable next step, they'll also handle the process to protect you from legal action.
Make Sure You Have Cause
Protecting yourself from bad renters starts with a clear-cut lease agreement. Rental property owners in Detroit have cause to evict for nonpayment of rent and specific lease violations when all other attempts to correct the dispute fail.
When enforcing the rules and working toward a potential eviction, your lease provides legal documentation of:
Rules and what constitutes a violation
Rental payment due dates and late fees
Other penalties for breaking the rules
Your responsibilities and the process to enforce rules and send rent payment reminders
Remember: you reviewed the lease with your resident before they signed it and moved in. They are aware of when the rent is due, the rules they must follow to live in your Detroit property, and how you'll enforce the rules and assess penalties for violations. If you've done everything according to the lease—and your renter still refuses to make it right—a lawyer and property manager can justifiably help you proceed with the eviction process.
Keep Track of Everything In Writing
Whether it's a digital paper trail or "real" paper, document every reminder notice, text, email, and conversation between you and your renter. Photos are also helpful to document damage to your Detroit investment. Every attempt to collect late rent or alert residents to a rule violation needs documentation to support the eviction process.
Excellent record-keeping helps verify that you follow the lease and the law to resolve a resident dispute. These records also confirm that your renter continued to ignore rent payment reminders or requests to correct a rule violation. It might feel tedious or time-consuming to record details of your interactions—but it can lead to winning an eviction case and help you avoid a retaliatory lawsuit from your resident.
Avoid It (Before You Need It)
We're not recommending that you keep a resident in your property when all signs point to eviction as the appropriate solution to a bad situation. However, avoiding renters and situations that lead to eviction is the best way to manage properties and renters while maximizing income.
While eviction can be the "ultimate" solution to removing a problem resident and getting your Detroit property back, it's a costly process that can drag on for weeks or months. Screening every potential renter gives you the background information you need to recognize red flags that warn against choosing the wrong renter (and dealing with future headaches), including:
Prior evictions or defaults
No way to verify income or employment
Criminal history that could put your property, other renters, or neighbors at risk
With evidence of any of these red flags, investors can avoid bad renters and choose excellent potential residents that pay the rent on time, take care of your rental, and follow the rules!
A Property Manager Handles Eviction for a Detroit Investment Property
With a professional property manager, investors never have to deal with evictions. The right property management company applies a thorough screening process to place the best Detroit renters in your properties! When a resident skips rental payments or breaks the rules, we also take care of the eviction process, so you don't have to do it.
If you're ready for better renters for your Detroit investment or you're headed to eviction with a current resident, let one of our seasoned Own It Detroit experts help!
Learn more about the right way to evict a renter with our free Tenant Eviction Checklist. Click to download.