Safeguarding Your Investment with Tenant Replacement
Whether you are new to real estate investment or you’ve been at it for a while, you’ll no doubt find that tenant problems are some of your most frustrating. You’ll likely encounter weather-related property damage or maintenance issues, but these won’t come with the same personal touch that problematic tenants will bring to your experience as a landlord. These issues may be something you can resolve relatively quickly, but you may also find yourself in a worst-case scenario where you’ve decided that a problem has become severe enough that eviction is your only recourse.
This process can be challenging in a few different ways, so you’re probably curious about how you can make it easier on yourself. We’ll discuss a few things that you can do to guard against the challenges that eviction can bring into your professional life and some of the ways that a property management company (like Green River) offering tenant replacement can give you peace of mind.
Keep in mind that everything discussed here is intended to cover the basics of what you need to know and isn’t a replacement for proper legal advice. When in doubt, seek a good lawyer for sound legal counsel.
A Good Screening Process Can Protect You in Advance
The easiest way to make an eviction action go in your favor is to avoid it in the first place; if you can ensure that you are renting to the right people, it’s a good bet that they’ll be reliable tenants who follow the rules and pay rent on time. Screening your prospective tenants before handing over the keys can help you to make this determination. Screening can be a relatively simple process in theory. You’ll investigate a few fundamental aspects of a potential tenant’s background, including:
- Credit history
- Prior rental history and evictions
- Employment and income information
- Any criminal record
Taking a look at these items should help you get a sense of whether or not a tenant will be a good fit for you and is one of the simpler things that you can do to ensure that you protect yourself against difficult tenants.
Set Clear Expectations Up-Front
In addition to performing some necessary background investigation, there are several things that you can do to help reduce risk yourself once you’ve made a choice to rent to a particular tenant. A tenant who passes your screening process with flying colors may still experience unexpected issues or become a challenge down the road, but there are a few things that you can do to try to resolve matters at this point before pursuing eviction.
Be sure that you are communicating effectively from day one:
- Establish a mutual understanding of your expectations.
- Clarify what you expect from your renters and what they should expect from you.
- Talk often with your tenants and always put everything in writing.
It’s possible that problematic tenant behavior is a simple misunderstanding; try to strike the right balance of firmness on the essential items and flexibility elsewhere. Remember that in real estate as with anything else, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Eviction Should Always Be the Last Step
Eviction can be a drastic course to take. Generally, it’s the last resort that you’ll fall back on only if you’ve failed to resolve a problem with a tenant in a less involved manner or find yourself dealing with a relentlessly difficult renter. Be sure that you have genuine grounds for eviction before pursuing it further; tenant violations of your lease agreement or local, state, or federal laws are all grounds for eviction. Examples include:
- Failure to pay the rent
- Violations of a no-pet policy
- Possession or the sale of drugs on the property
As long as you’ve kept up your end of the lease agreement and followed applicable laws yourself, you should be in the clear to follow up with an eviction action. However, it can still be a long and challenging process that will ultimately involve the legal system in some capacity. Finding the service of a lawyer as soon as possible is a good idea if you think that you’ll be evicting a tenant; you can be sure that you’re covered from your first steps if you do so.
Spend a Little More Now for Some Long-Term Peace of Mind
Even in a best-case scenario, eviction is a complicated process; you wouldn’t be the first landlord to manage it on their own, but you don’t need to. A good property management company will offer a service called tenant replacement: if you find yourself facing an unexpected eviction issue with a tenant, your property manager will cover a great deal of the cost. You’ll get the legal help you need to evict successfully, assistance renting your newly vacant property and the assurance that you won’t have to tackle these issues on your own. Spending a little more up front can save you a significant headache down the road: you can rest easy knowing that you’re covered if you do encounter a problem tenant that takes you to this point.
If you’re a Jacksonville area landlord, and you think that eviction is in your future—or you want to safeguard your investment against the possibility—you've come to the right place. Green River Property Management offers an eviction protection program as a part of our Executive Service package. Get in touch with us today to learn more about the benefits of working with a property management partner to protect your Jacksonville rental property!