Evictions – something no property owner wants to go through. Apart from the masses of paperwork and legal costs, there are emotional and ethical challenges. In Colorado, 13,212 evictions took place from January to August 2021. The global pandemic has put millions of people into a rent crisis, with more eviction notices set to follow.
Renting out your property will always come with risks. Even if you find the perfect tenant, unintentional circumstances can befall anyone. So, for the sake of your property and the tenant’s wellbeing, develop rules and strategies to deal with any situation before it gets serious.
There are several ways you can safeguard your property and ensure you never have to go the eviction route. Moreover, you can ease the stress of your tenants and maintain a healthy working relationship.
1. Maintain your property
Keeping your property well maintained will attract good tenants. If tenants see that your property is clean and all utilities work, they will more than likely keep it that way. Furthermore, regular maintenance means that tenants will never withhold rent if you don’t look after your property.
2. Make Sure to Screen Your Tenants
One of the best ways to ensure you never have to go down the eviction path is to find good tenants. Being thorough with your screening process includes:
- Make sure all their documentation is legitimate
- Evaluate their credit score
- Review their employment and income
- Check their rental history and contact past landlords
- Gauge their personality. Are they polite, responsible, and trustworthy?
Going the extra mile will give you peace of mind that your property is in good hands.
If the screening process seems daunting to you, hiring a reputable property manager can ease the challenge of finding good tenants. No matter where you own property in Colorado, there are property managers available to handle all aspects of running a rental property. You can hire well-qualified property managers in Colorado Springs, Boulder, Fort Collins, Denver, and other parts of Colorado for professional assistance.
3. Always Communicate
Make sure your tenant knows they can talk to you about any issues. If your tenant is reliable and trustworthy, then you can make exceptions and negotiate any unforeseen issues. However, if problems persist, be firm and put everything in writing.
4. Offer Incentives to Keep Your Tenant Happy
One way is to offer a discount on upfront rents. Provide a 10% discount if they pay six months in advance. Also, offer them a gift card for a discount on rent if they go on holiday.
5. Negotiate a Payment Plan in Troubled Times
There might come a time when your tenant has serious financial issues. If they have been reliable and honest with you, work out a payment plan to help them get through their situation. Put any arrangements in writing and keep the lines of communication open.
6. Put a Cash-For-Keys Deal on the Table
If you want your tenant out, offer a cash-for-keys deal. You can propose a cash offer of up to one month’s rent to incentivize your tenant to leave. It may seem counterintuitive to pay your tenant to leave, but it’s far cheaper than the eviction process.
7. Inform a credit bureau of late payments
If your tenant regularly misses a payment, it’s worthwhile to report it to a credit bureau. A missed payment can negatively affect the tenant’s credit score. Inform the tenant within 30 days and notify the credit bureau if they settled their debt.
8. Send the tenant a pay or quit notice
This is the last resort before going the eviction route. Serving this notice will make it clear to the tenant of the situation. Also, putting it in writing is necessary if you do need to start the eviction process. The time frame for pay or quit notices is around three to five days.
9. How not to go about the eviction process
If you find yourself having to go down the eviction route, there are things you must never do to evict your tenant:
- Do not harass or assault the tenant, including confrontational phone calls or showing up at their place of work
- Do not change the locks to prevent access
- Never forcefully enter the property
- Do not cut the electricity, water supply, or gas to force them out
Committing any one of these acts can lead to a lawsuit or potentially jail time. Familiarise yourself with your state’s rules for landlords and the consequences if you break them.
Eviction is a costly and lengthy process, which you’ll want to avoid at all costs. By following the above strategies, you can avoid evicting your tenants and save yourself money and stress. Always maintain constant communication with your tenant and stay informed no matter the situation.