Posted by Mark (SDCA) on November 23, 2000 at 08:44:25:
Really, there is nothing magical about it but here goes.
I only write month to month rental agreements. NO LEASES. The only exceptions are Section 8 properties (HUD requires a lease) and lease option. This does 2 things for me. First, it allows me to give “problem” tenants a 30 day notice to move. I don’t need a reason. I use this very rarely but it is there. When I say problem tenants I mean the type of tenants who violate the rental agreements in ways it can be difficult to evict them for (leaving trash in the common areas, unauthorized tenants, unauthorized business etc). You KNOW they are violating the rental agreement but they will just say someone else did it, that person was only visiting, I really DO ride all those motorcycles etc. So I don’t need a reason. Here is your 30 day notice. Move out.
The second option it gives me is to raise the rent as much and as often as I want. Let’s say you have an apartment and “someone” destroys the mailbox. You “know” it was Tenant Jones but they refuse to pay for it. Simple, raise their rent to cover it. Or they chronically pay late but don’t send late fees. Again, just raise their rent. (You can either pay this one time late fee or pay it EVERY month in the form of a rent increase). It is always easier to evict for non-payment of rent than anything else. It is so clear cut. Here is the rental agreement. They owe X per much. Here is the 5 day notice I sent them. Mr. Tenant do you have proof you mailed the rent? No? You are out.
Evictions. Only use a lawyer. Find one who specializes in them. Mine charges $111 per eviction. When you consider the filing fee is included, it probably only costs me 50 or 60 bucks. Not even worth my time to go to the courthouse. He never makes a mistake and I have the eviction notice within a couple of weeks at most. I have had 2 tenants try to contest the eviction. They were amateurs. My attorney is a pro. The pro always wins. Same story if you have to get the constable to do a lockout. That is probably something you could do yourself but again I have better things to do with my time. And NEVER let a tenant back on the property after an eviction, especially after a lockout.
You could have aproperty damage or squatter issue and possibly have to go through the whole eviction process again.
Beyond that, I would just say be firm but fair. My rent is due on the 1st, late on the 5th. I send a pay rent or quit notice on the 5th or 6th. I send a 2nd notice around the 15th. On the 22nd, I go to the lawyer. You can speed up these deadlines if you don’t use US Mail for your notices. I send 2 notices because my policy is that if I go to the lawyer, that is it. I go all the way until I have a vacant unit.
Most tenants know what is right (as do you) and will do what is right if you treat them fairly. Some won’t. That is what rules #1 and #2 are for.
I would strongly recommend you buy the book Landlording by Leigh Robinson. Must read if you are going to be a landlord.
Hope this helps,