If you are an experienced Dallas property management owner, you probably already know that you should do everything possible to avoid evicting a tenant. The process is costly, stressful, and often messy, with potential legal risks. At Specialized Property Management Dallas, our goal is to help you prevent evictions with professional, reliable property management. But we’ve been in this business a long time, so we know that sometimes certain circumstances mean an eviction is inevitable. Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself from rental property evictions.
The Importance of Tenant Screening
Finding responsible tenants is not just a luck of the draw. At SPM Dallas, we use a rigorous tenant screening process with thorough background checks to help sort out the best tenants for your rental property. Application screening increases protection for you and your rental home. We check credit, criminal, employment, and rental history to greatly reduce the risk of future eviction.
Team members at Specialized Property Management Dallas have extensive training and local expertise to ensure you comply with all the rules and regulations for your area. We have an in-house legal counsel that can brief you on any laws and codes that you’re expected to follow as a landlord. Don’t spend your time trying to keep up with all the rules and regulations that come along with property management. You may violate a law or code that you didn’t even know existed! Trust our team’s local expertise to keep you in compliance.
When your tenant signs their lease, you should make it absolutely clear to them that you will not accept multiple late rent payments or go easy on them when no rent is paid. Emphasize that immediate collection action will be taken if the tenant refuses to follow these procedures. Tenants do not want collection officers calling them at all times of the day or night and will be more likely to do everything they can to pay rent when it’s due. Smart Dallas property management means including these policies in the tenant-landlord written agreement and taking the time to go over them with your tenant.
Know the Circumstances
It is not in your best interest as an investor to kick out your tenant the minute they miss a rent payment. When you hurry to evict a tenant, you will then be waiting around for weeks or months while your property sits vacant, losing money in the meantime. It could be your tenant had a family emergency or there is some other valid reason why their rent was late. Smart property management Dallas owners communicate with their tenants and find out why rent was late and talk about how to prevent it from happening in the future.
Legal Reasons to Evict a Tenant
Maybe your tenant has yelled at you in the past or been unkind to a neighbor, but neither of those are legal reasons why you can evict the tenant. Here are some common legal reasons for eviction:
- Not Paying Rent: This may seem like a no-brainer, but if your tenant refuses to pay their rent, you can legally evict them. They agreed to pay rent when they signed the lease, and they are in violation of that agreement if they stop making their regular rental payments.
- Illegal Activity: Your tenant cannot use your property for illegal purposes, such as for commercial purposes, industrial, or manufacturing purposes. Dealing drugs of any kind out of your rental home definitely falls under illegal purposes, and you can evict your tenant within 24 hours if you have proof this kind of activity is going on. “In Texas, a landlord can even immediately terminate the lease of a tenant who is convicted of public indecency (Sec. 91.003)!” –from landlordology.com
- Fixing Property Damage and Health or Safety Violations: You can evict your tenant if you need to treat the home for health or safety hazards such as removal of lead paint, asbestos, and improperly-installed electrical systems. Obviously allowing your tenant to reside in the rental property while these kinds of treatments are going on would affect their health and safety, so they should understand the reason for the eviction. Also, if your property has suffered such significant damage that it can’t be repaired while anyone is living in the home, then you have legal cause to evict your tenant.
- Taking Your Property Off the Rental Market: Ready to take your property off the rental market and move back into it? That is legally acceptable if you give your tenant plenty of notice that they will need to find somewhere else to live. Be sure to be considerate of your tenant’s individual needs and circumstances especially if they have kids in school or have lived in your rental home for a long period of time.
- Violating the Lease Agreement: When a tenant decides to breach the terms of the lease agreement, you then have legal grounds for filing an eviction. Keeping a pet or allowing a significant other to move in without notifying you, subletting the property, or multiple “nuisance” complaints are all legal reasons to evict a tenant.
Notify Your Tenant in Writing
When a tenant misses their rent payment, you should try to reach them via email or phone if possible. But it’s legally imperative that you also notify them in writing about any missed rent payments. It’s a good idea to keep careful documents of every part of the process in case you eventually have to go to court. If you’ve waited for days and your tenant still hasn’t paid, then you can give your tenant a Notice to Vacate. Dallas property management owners must include certain information on the notice such as the name of the tenant, the reason for the notice, and the date it was served to the tenant for it to be considered valid in court.
Know the Law
You may not be a lawyer, but as a rental property owner, it’s a good idea to become familiar with at least a few of the landlord-tenant laws in Texas. Per Texas Property Code § 24.005:
“(a) If the occupant is a tenant under a written lease or oral rental agreement, the landlord must give a tenant who defaults or holds over beyond the end of the rental term or renewal period at least three days’ written notice to vacate the premises before the landlord files a forcible detainer suit, unless the parties have contracted for a shorter or longer notice period in a written lease or agreement. . .”
You do not need to give the tenant the option of fixing the violation or back-paying the rent.
If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit at the end of the three days, then you can file an eviction lawsuit with the court.
Protect Yourself With Our Eviction Protection Program
Our eviction protection program offers you a team of experienced professionals on your side to look after your legal needs, while also offering safety and peace of mind in the event that an eviction becomes necessary. As a participant in our eviction protection plan, we offer to pay for any filing, legal fees, and court costs in an unlawful detainment case that arises with a tenant that has been placed by our management team. This program reduces financial risk substantially should an eviction become necessary. When you sign up for this service, you sign up for peace of mind. For a small monthly fee, we will prepare and file your paperwork plus cover all the associated fees and attend the initial hearing on your behalf. This includes:
- Sending pay or quit notices
- Working with attorneys to prepare summons, complaints, and other court documents
- Filing the summons/order and paying court fees
- Serving the tenant through constable and sheriff
This tried-and-true program can save you a lot of time and money in Dallas property management. Evictions are often unexpected, but they are always costly. Standard court fees are just the beginning. A contested eviction can take months to resolve, draining your profit and cash flow. Any mistakes in filing paperwork or breaking federal laws, regulations or ordinances can cause expensive delays. The process can take months to resolve, and additional legal actions add to the costs. Even small mistakes can cause delays and a great deal of emotional stress.
In extreme situations, landlords might threaten tenants or use unethical collection policies. This can lead to even more legal difficulties like lawsuits, financial loss, and possible damage to the rental property. Your team at Specialized Property Management Dallas approaches evictions with proficiency and professionalism. We have the experience and expertise to keep your property running smoothly.
Select SPM Dallas for Your Professional Dallas Property Management
At SPM Dallas, we are here to serve our property managers. From screening reliable applicants to getting homes “rent-ready”, to maintaining your rental property, you can count on us to get the job done right the first time.
By signing up today for our Eviction Protection Program, our professionals can help you protect yourself and your rental property. With nearly 30 years of experience, we’re the company in property management Dallas owners trust. Our comprehensive property management services have helped thousands of property owners all over the U.S. Contact your Specialized Property Management Dallas team at 214-233-7572!