Besides Eviction, What Is the Quickest Way to Get Rid of a Bad Tenant?

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Screen prospects carefully to avoid taking on bad tenants in the first place.
Screen prospects carefully to avoid taking on bad tenants in the first place. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Having a bad tenant in your rental property can be a nightmare. Tenants can make your life difficult in a number of ways: paying rent late, destroying your property or being a nuisance to neighbors. Sometimes you may have no choice but to evict, but this process is costly and can take time. Try more creative ways to get rid of a difficult tenant before starting an eviction procedure.

Cash-for-Keys

If you are prepared to pay to get rid of the tenant, you can offer what’s known as cash-for-keys. This is a payment that in effect buys out your obligations under the lease and compensates the tenant for moving. Although it does involve a cash payment which you may find unpalatable, it will likely be much cheaper and quicker than an eviction.

Threat of Eviction

Sometimes just the threat of going to court will work to move a problem tenant. When you discuss it with him, you should be sure to mention the effect such a public record has on his credit and on his prospects of renting elsewhere in the future.

Raise the Rent

If you have a month-to-month tenant, one simple way to get rid of her may be to raise the rent. Providing you give notice, you are within your rights to do so, and if you make the rent hike fairly substantial, she may well be motivated to move.

Non-Renewal

The simplest way to get rid of a tenant, if you are near the end of a lease, is simply not to renew. Once the lease is up, you are under no obligation to renew with the same person, and so long as you fulfill any notice requirements, you can simply ask him to leave.

Community Mediation

Many cities and towns have nonprofit fair housing coalitions or other sources of low cost legal help for tenants and landlords. Check if the one in your district offers a mediation service. Perhaps what’s needed is to sit down with your tenant along with a neutral party to sort out your problems.

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