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I Need to Evict a Nonpaying Tenant!

Updated on February 1, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Evicting a Non-paying Tenant

Disclaimer: Author is not a lawyer and this article is meant for informational purposes only. You should discuss any action with your lawyer before moving ahead with the eviction process.

It's something you thought you would never have to do.

Months ago you signed the lease to allow a tenant to rent your property. You checked their references. You talked to them, and it all felt right. Now, all of a sudden you find that the tenant won't take your calls, refuses to answer the door and is a month behind on the rent.

You realize you will have to evict them. So what are the steps to evicting a tenant?


General Steps

These steps are the average requirements for evicting a tenant in the United States. You will want to research the laws that are specific to your state because if you don't follow the steps exactly you can lose the case in court.

First, try to talk to the tenant and find out why they are not paying. In most states the tenant cannot withhold rent for repairs, or any other reason, without setting up an escrow account and having an officer of the court hold the rent. It is a legal process. So if your tenant says they aren't paying because you haven't fixed the door handle in the bathroom they probably do not have the authority to do that.

If you can't talk to the tenant you can lock them out. In order to do this you must have a key available for them within 2 hours, at any time of the day or night whether they pay or not. Locking out a tenant will not get you your money, it is to be used only to force a tenant to meet with you. Try to work the issues out in a peaceful manner. Keep notes and records of all communication, verbal or otherwise.

Grounds for Eviction

How to Write an Eviction Letter

Next, send them a certified letter, or post it on the front door, or hand it to someone over eighteen. The letter should say something like this:

Today's Date

Dear Mr Tenant,

As of March 15, 2---, your rent was unpaid. You have three (3) days from the date of this letter to either pay the rent in full, including late charges, in the amount of $2,059.50 or vacate the premises. The payment, or the keys, should be brought to 1111 Smith Street, Brokelandlord, N.J. 00000

If you do not comply the eviction process will be initiated. All fees and court costs involved in this process will be charged to you, and you will have an eviction on your rental, as well as your credit, records.


Mr. Landlord

Serving the Eviction Notice

If they do not vacate in the time you have specified (check with your state laws as far as how long you must give them, but it is usually 3-5 days) then you take the copy of your letter to the local court and have an eviction notice served on the tenant. The cost will vary, but expect to pay around $100.00.

You will be given a court date, when you and the tenant will be asked to appear before the judge.

Going to Court

Hopefully, the tenant will move out. If not, on your court date take all of your payment receipts, the lease, the letter requesting payment in full, and any other letters, paperwork, or pertinent information to court.

Always allow the judge to ask questions and never interrupt anyone...even if the tenant is lying right and left. Stay calm. Losing your temper will hurt you in the long run.

Once you have stated your case, and the tenant has stated theirs, the judge will render a decision. More than likely it will be in your favor, depending on the circumstance.

The judge will tell the tenant that they have five days to appeal or vacate. If they do not do either you will need to come back into court to get a court order to move the tenant out with the help of the sheriff.

What If They Appeal?

If they appeal, then you will be back in court again while the tenant tries to prove why they should not have to pay rent. Now, in order to do this, they must put the rent in an escrow to be held at the court, at least in many states,so most tenants will not appeal. The tenant has to prove that they can pay the rent in the appeals process.

It takes about twenty days to evict a tenant in most states.

You may not need a lawyer for this unless it gets very complicated in appeals. Be sure and check with your own county's regulations and requirements. This is not legal advice, but merely the steps that one might expect to go through in the eviction process.


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      csmart 6 years ago

      Mayer Audet, I really enjoyed your Hub. I want to own a home and I was thinking about having tenants but from what I read here it seems kind of scary. Since you lost your last home in foreclosure due to tenants being delinquent in payment, you should sue them.

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      klucas 6 years ago

      I need help!!!! I have tenants in my home. They pay the rent, but having problem with the water bill. They moved into our home on September 1,2011. Didn't switch the water into there name until October 21, 2011. so stuck us with a bill of $119. We have given serveral attempts for this payment. When get on phone they admit to the bill and says will send money then never receive payment. Had there number changed and never received it. so when try to talk about matter couldn't get them. so got them on facebook and she said she would pay the bill with her April rent. Gave it till April 10 nothing. so i send evition notice to be out within thirty days of the letter. Can i evict them for non payment of this bill? Please help?

    • profile image

      KatnGeo 6 years ago

      Our tenant was due to pay his rent on the 23rd of March, today is April 2 (even though original rent was due and started on the 6th and he has postponed one week at a time until now HIS date most convenient for him to pay is the 23rd now. He didn't show up with the rent on the 23rd and his cell phone is not receiving calls, nobody is at the residence, but seems his stuff is still there, we just can't get a hold of him. We put a FOR RENT sign in the front yard thinking he will contact us, but seems he is just "gone". What can we do, since we can't give him any notice in person or by phone, what next?

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      Mimi Carden 6 years ago

      I have been stuck in limbo for 10 months now, my husband died 17 months ago, and the tenant decided he did not want to pay me anymore! His wife and kid left last year and he stayed and wrecked my house, he finally left and his wife came to my door to tell me she moved back in! I told her she cannot move in, I need to sell the house, the bank is foreclosing on the house me and my children live in, because I can't pay the mortgage without the rent. I went down last night to talk, because they will not give me a phone # it turns out her husband still lives there as does her daughter and her 4 year old! She acted like I should let them live there for free. And after all she has a 4 year old living there, I'm sorry but that is her problem, I have three children who are losing there home and I can't even move into my rental because they won't get out! I asked her how would she like if I just took her car and said see you latter! The thing is I don't have the money to get a business LICENCE to evict them, so I'm forced to let them stay I even pay for there water, because if I don't I'll be in trouble. I don't know what to do

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great hub. I have had a good tenant until recently. I can relate to the comments on here where the landlords are "blamed" for the tenant's back luck and are in effect paying the renter's rent. I am going to bookmark this hub in case I need it. Very practical. Thanks. Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 6 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      I agree. I have been tempted to remove the door! I am no longer in the landlord business and I am glad!

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      Astounded 6 years ago

      The key is communication. If my tenants COMMUNICATE with me, we work something out. Otherwise, I evict. I can have them completely out in Indiana within 3 weeks. I even schedule the moving company at the small claims court as soon as I have the eviction. I do this in front of the tenant so they know if they delay, I will move them out with a sheriff and it will cost them a fortune to get their stuff back from the moving company. I don't play around. I refuse to pay rent for someone that isn't. In effect, that is what the landlord does when a tenant doesn't pay. That's why we charge late fees.

      Also, I make my rent due on the 1st of the month. No grace period. Rent is late and subject to late fees on the 2nd. If you want a 10 day grace period, I make rent due on the 20th or 21st of the previous month. For those of you that think I am heartless, consider this: I'm not in this to provide charity. I have rental properties to MAKE MONEY. The same reason you work: to MAKE MONEY. I give through my church, not my tenants.

      The free loading sense of self-entitlement in this country needs to stop. It is destroying this country.

      On a lighter note, a buddy of mine, who also has rentals, actually removed the front door in order to get his tenants to move out. That didn't go over so well in court!

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      tricky jimmy 6 years ago

      It amazes me how tenants feel there problems should be the property owners problems. Quit whining that, you hurt your back and can't work, you cant pay your rent and its unfair that you are being kicked out. Really, have you deadbeats ever heard of having money set aside for a rainy day. You should have enough in savings to pay your bills for at a minumum of six months, by that time you should be out of the property if you can no longer afford it. People who do not pay their bills are deadbeat trash, yeah suck it cause that is exactly what you are. TRASH. You scum are the reason America is in such bad shape. What amames me, you say neeed a job, you whine that you want to work, when you are hired by someone that gives you a chance, your deadbeat self finds reasons for not coming to work, always late. You wonder why that mean ole boss fired you, news flash, It was your fault, just like it is your fault if you get evicted. Your problems are your problems, NOT the proprty owners.................

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 6 years ago from Planet Earth

      I've evicted people - it's a sad task, but by the time you do it, you're often fed up. We were required to put their belongings out by the curb, with the Constable on hand for security. It took several notices to get to the point where eviction was the next step. If you don't follow the process (late notices, etc.) you can create bigger legal problems as you move forward.

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 6 years ago from India

      Very useful suggestions for lot of headaches. Sharing with friends and voted up and useful.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 6 years ago from Pune, India

      Your Hubs give detailed information, I appreciate your efforts to create such great Hubs.

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 6 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      In texas the lanlird hss to serve you notice and tou have 3 days to comply or he can file for eviction which usually takes a month in smaller towns pr more in big cities.

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      Chris 6 years ago

      My husband and I are new to the landlord game. When we were renters we always paid our rent and utilities on time. Now we have a tenant that feels he should not pay us our full rent. He just moved in and this is his second month's rent that he is incapable of paying. He complains that everything is wrong with our newly renovated unit. When we post to enter the premises to fix the problems he refuses to grant us access. He is still behind on this month's rent and has placed a whole $20 in escrow for next month's rent. He removed our smoke detectors and then called the city to inspect the property. We were almost happy about this one because we were hoping they would tell him to leave. We just want him to go away so we can find a non con artist tenant to rent the place. Even if someone fell a little behind on rent we wouldn't care so much. But we are in fear of this con artist ruining our property in order to justify not paying rent.

      We hired a lawyer and will post his notice to quit. We are afraid that he will bring forged documents to court since we found out that he did this to a previous landlord. Help!!

    • profile image

      kim 6 years ago

      can someone answer this? we are on a RENT TO OWN CONTRACT IN TEXAS& we are one month($700) behind for january 2012 & $200 behind for December 2012 but have been "buying" the home since may 2011....what are the eviction laws in this situation?

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      Ken 6 years ago

      In CT it is illegal to evict someone in the military.

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      Billie 6 years ago

      Ok here is the problem my husband and i are having. If you have a suggestion we would love to hear some our email is .Well in Februray 2011 we agreed to owner finance our home. The couple that we made the agreement with had kids and one the way at the time so i would say we were very nice when the down payment was decided they were to pay $5,000.00 down but when we got to the house to meet them they only had $3,000.00 down. Needless to say my husband took it and told they could pay us $350.00 Monthly. Now this is a 3 bedroom home with 3 lots garage and carpot and it also on Lake Palestine in Texas. Well anyways they pay the down payment of $3,000.00 cash and we didnt recieve anymore money after until 4 months later which was june and the payment was only for 700.00 and we havent recieved a payment since then and here it is Jan. 2012 we sent a evication notice locked the doors and had the key ready for when they called but instead they kicked the doors in. now they have filed charges on us for theft and we havent took anyones stuff. We were in Lufkin Texas at the time they said we took their stuff and my husband was at work. But the officer that called just doesnt believe us for some reason. I just need some kind of advvice or a lawyer fast before they end up taking the home my husband, our kids, a friend, and i built with our own hands

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      Kate 6 years ago

      Singh to your answer above u need to send her a letter stating that she has "this many days to pick up her stuff" and if she doesn't you have to tell her you will have to rent a storage garage and charge her each day at the cost of the storage unit and the money it cost you to bring it there" Keep all records very important and make copies! Because if she comes back for her stuff u will end up being liable! Everything is paperwork!

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      singh1 6 years ago

      I need some help, I am a landlord and I have a tenant that has already been evicted from her apartment the court has order her a two weeks notice to remove all of the belongs from the apartment and the two weeks has pass 5 days ago, what should I do with her stuff or do I have to go back to court?

    • profile image

      Doug 6 years ago

      • A lockout is a crime. (Connecticut General Statutes §53a-214).


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      Chris 6 years ago

      My tenant decided not to pay rent for the past three months. When they asked to pay late for November, I informed them there would be a $5 late fee per day after a 4 day grace period. Didn't go over well. Additionally, they were hiding their son (not on lease) in their apartment because he was wanted by the police. When I informed them their son was not to be on my property, the father threatened to slit my and my boyfriends throats. Now, do you all think that I am wrong? We keep our units well maintained and are on very good terms with the rest of our tenants. We went to court, it was ruled in our favor, now the tenant is appealling the magistrates decision and I have to go back to court at least three more times hopefully to get them out. I am NOT a slumlord and resent all those people who insinuate that most landlords are. Shame on you. If you want to look at my units, drop by anytime. My boyfriend and I work about 9-12 hours a day, five days a week just to make sure our units are safe, healthy to live in and up to speed. For those who call us slumlords, walk in our shoes for a day and let me know what you think.

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      Cindy 6 years ago

      How much does it cost to get the sheriff to evict the tenant in MA( with court order in my favor )? Thanks

    • profile image

      Okay 6 years ago

      With the economy good luck renting to someone with good credit. They would buy a house if they had good credit. The unemployment rate is 10%. Jobs are limited.

    • profile image

      nadine 6 years ago

      Will this eviction letter also be valid for use in south africa?

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      Shalom 6 years ago

      Can I evict a tenet for non-pay? I have dropped off a certified attorney letter giving them 3 days to pay up what they owe. Can I just immediately evict them out? The tenets are a couple with an 8 year old child and one expecting next year.

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      Steve 6 years ago

      I rent and have never been a deadbeat. I worked heavy construction for 35 years. we payed our rent 2 months ahead for almost 2 years. one year ago I again blew out my back,have extensive diabetic complications and tore a rotator cuff. we payed late as I could not work and now are 6 months behind. we are trying to do low income housing as I am in the Disability process. My point! In the housing business we are in the people business(Ive been a landlord too)People have problems,we take risks and the housing business will never be a perfect running machine. We are of course being evicted and are learning it is about the money and landlords want to throw humens into the street,Wow.

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 6 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      I guess I would have to say that there is good and bad on both sides. I have had 3 bad tenants - it took more than six months (with no rent paid but mortgage payments still due) to get them out each stole the air conditioner unit... on and on... I finally lost the house with the last tenant. The dent in my credit from a foreclosure that is not my fault is devastating..I too am divorced and the ex stuck me with 50k in debt. I am sure that some landlords are difficult to deal with but I know that many of the tenants that don't pay do this as a pattern for free housing for 6 months or more at a time.

    • profile image

      Justneedunderstanding 6 years ago

      Notice to landlords: Not everyone who misses a month of rent is a deadbeat, and I understand you have bills to pay but sometimes to need to listen to and work with a tenant. I am a single mother who used to have awesome credit and a good paying job, then I got married and he ruined me. We are divorced now and I'm still picking up the pieces, and I lost my job in a tragic situation. Because of my marriage I have no savings, he cleaned me out. I am also an injured veteran. I made part of my rent this month, but am having a hard time getting the rest of the rent. I have already been served with my 3 day notice, and this was after talking to my landlord and telling them that I am seeking asistance and they will be getting their money, it just may take time. Mind you, I am not even a full month behind. I'm not a deadbeat freeloader, I served 4 years for this country and have been actively looking for a job. I am not refusing to pay, I'm just asking for some time for these help organizations to process. So I think there are some landlords that need to get off their high horse and pay attention to what their tennants have to say. It also disturbs me that most of the posts from landlords are extremely misspelled... My spelling isnt accurate but I do know the difference between their, there, and they're... And you're drafting legal agreements? And lastly, thank you to those landlords that are understanding. Ceesea, I'm sorry you took such a financial dive for that guy, but your moral compass points due north and it will not go unrewarded in the end.

    • Aceblogs profile image

      Aceblogs 6 years ago from India

      Well its a very useful hub i would say , here in india we do face a lot of problem between landlord and the tenant. But talks do not work out in 95% cases and the case has to be settled in the law court only .

    • profile image

      veronica 6 years ago

      our lease was up sept 30th and we just the notice to vacate last friday we havent been served by a sherriff to go to court can the landlord lock us out and force us to move out or does she have to go through the process i live in spring texas and once we get served to go court how soon will there be a court date

    • profile image

      ceesea 6 years ago

      I am a little surprised at the angry tenants here! Our situation is a tenant that is living rent free 13 mos. He was a wonderful tenant for 5 yrs, and is a nice guy, but due to the housing slump he lost the majority of his income last yr when his first held mortgages stopped paying. So here we are with a depressed tenant, no rent and I am going to serve the 72 hr tom. eve. Not a pleasant situation. But again, I cannot work 40 hrs overtime per mo to pay the rent he should pay. We really have tried by paying utilites the past 8 mos, taking food, getting him job leads, trying to get him to counseling, etc, but at this point we are enabling. I have been sleepless for a week over this upcoming event. So, angry tenants, we are not slumlords and we are not here to make money off you. We are just humans working things out!

    • profile image

      LANDLORD 6 years ago


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      Norma 6 years ago

      no lockout is allowed in Wisconsin - be very careful state to state

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      an angry tenant 6 years ago

      stop being slumlords and more people would pay their rent .

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      Holly 6 years ago

      I have been renting an apartment since my divorce for several years now. I originally had a year lease, which somewhere along the line was changed to a month to month. I didn't care, because paying the rent was the first thing I always did. It is the most important thing, even though I have dental problems etc. Now my landlord rented to a woman with a teenage daughter. I thought she was nice at first, but the kid and her dozens of male/female friends sit on my doorstep every day after school, make noise, carry on, smoke etc. I asked the mom 3 times to have them go to the park with is literally a block away, or have their gatherings in their apt. She yeses me, doesn't pay attention. She just moved in July 1, and it's now almost Oct. My landlord confided in me that she is a horrible tenant, hasn't paid rent since she moved in. Sorry to say, I was happy to hear that. He said he's going to court very soon, but I have heard that in NJ it is just about impossible to evict someone with a kid. Is this true? I have a feeling this woman does this all the time. Just from some of the things she has said.

    • profile image

      Blah 6 years ago

      All this bickering about he didn't pay she didn't pay don't you people do credit checks? Stop renting to deadbeats as for the slum Lords fix your property would you want to live in a shit hole? Or better yet would you want your infant grand children living in filth like some of the properties you people rent out and want paid for? Tenants look over the place your trying to rent talk to the other tenants see what the landload is like. If they give him/ her a bad review don't rent from them, give yourself long enough to find a clean,safe, loving home for yourself and your children.

    • profile image

      ms gee 6 years ago

      if your landlord dont give you a copy of your lease but you signed one can she evict you without going to court

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 6 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Call the police and talk to them about it. If he has been evicted he can't move back in

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      Isabella 6 years ago

      I need an advice and I hope I can find an answer here; We have a tentant and his credit was awful same like all his background been on jail for a very long time, we try to give him a new start so we rent him this property without judging him, he didn't pay on time, e always pay the rent late and it was ok with us he also said that he have a little bussines and he made this thing on wood so we have a lot of wood on our home and we gave him for free a lot of material for him to work on it and make his money so after 5 months he called my husband and told him that he is taking us to court because he is not happy there and a lot of stuff that need or be fix and he never told us about.He is been calling my husband and letting him know that he is not moving that he knows that he can be there for 6 months and he is taking us to court because there are some things that we didnt fix, etc.. Anyways we never been serve he event start threating my husband calling him names like a coward because at this point we were waiting to go to court in the time and date that he told us, he been in a fight with one of the neighbors, even our next property says that he is been doing selling drugs around and there was always nice cars stopping at nights very late nights, insult a 13 years old girl and make her cry, stealing the cable and phone line from the other tentant yeah awful things that this guy have been doing around and we were concern because we know he just got out of jail and we have little kids so his threats really concern me. My husband went to court and they said that he never did the right think and if he wasnt been serve thats means my husband won (the tentant never showed up). Well This tentant was leaving msgs on my husband cellphone again telling him that we have to be thankful because he didnt showed up and blah blah blah.. In one of his messages he said that he is taking all his stuff out and moving out so my husband went to see and it was true he wasn't there so he changes locks on all the house and today afternoon he called my husband again telling him that he is coming to move back in on Monday and he knew he still have 6 months to live in our property without paying.. Is this true??? we already send him the eviction papers and all those things.. Can he move back in like is his place?

    • profile image

      annie 6 years ago

      To Maryann, just let the personal feelings go. This is a business deal, and they are using trickery to get out of their obligations. Those are just their "allegations" and without proof they hold no water. Evict them and wash your hands of it.

      To people who think it's just slumlords looking for the cash, that is not always the case. My husband works his behind off on his properties -fixing hot water heaters, toilets, dishwashers, etc. He did this for a tenant who had not paid rent for three months because the guy was out of job. My husband was very flexible and concerned and gave him leeway for months. Now that tenant owes over $6,000.00! But his DirectTV is paid for. Last time I was there when he was fixing the shower they had pizzas delivered for the night.

      This is why landlords should not be flexible.

      Most people will take advantage of you.

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      Maryann 6 years ago

      Twenty three years I have managed a sweet apartment building with God love'em 99.9 percent great tenants, many of whom have become dear friends. Yesterday I was served a restraining order by a pair of tenants who have not paid for three months. The landord hired an attorney who is handling the matter. Now these "lovely ladies" allege that I have been stalking them, threatening them, "pranking them" whatever that means, and send or delivered a racially charged hate letter signed allegedly by me. Now, this is all false. I actually had no ill will whatsoever towards them...infact I felt bad that they were having financial problems. I am 65, disabled by a small stroke and spinal cord compression...not a threatening figure to be sure..I taught high school English in the deep south years ago., I abhor racism, sexism, all of the nasty isms and live my live treating others as I would have them treat me. I feel blindsided by the false accusations and animosity. I've lost a lot of sleep over it. What on earth do I do, if anything? The sherif tried to serve the building owner as well, but he does not reside here, so he never got his. Any suggestions?

    • selfdefenselesson profile image

      selfdefenselesson 6 years ago

      Good advice.

      If all else fails just go "gangster.

      Throw his ass to the curb.

    • maxravi profile image

      Ravi Singh 6 years ago from India

      Well I believe going to court is the best option, when other options are not working.Thanks for hub!!

    • Naomi's Banner profile image

      Naomi's Banner 6 years ago from United States

      Very useful Hub. Sounds like sticky business but sometmes it is necessary.

    • Jennie Demario profile image

      Venture Boyz 6 years ago from Floating in the clouds

      This is a useful hub. I am sure that this happens much more often then people expect. Especially in this economic climate, some people just can't get the money together to pay the bills. It's a lose - lose for all parties involved.

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      Jason 6 years ago

      I agree with the earlier guy. Just because a tenant stops paying rent doesn't mean automatically that they're a deadbeat. It makes you, the landlords look like a bunch of bumbling idiots to read some of the things on this page.

      In my case, we rented a 2 BR, 1 BA townhouse, sight unseen due to a job transfer and move 4 states away. Thinking that we would be fine in any apartment for a year, we agreed, saw some pictures, and settled everything up. Due to the fact that I OWN my home in my former state, and have better credit than most of you landlords, my deposit was waived.

      When we moved down and set up a time to get the keys to the apartment, the first issue was when the landlord called and told me the address of the apartment. Until that point, we had been using the OFFICE address, which on all the crime websites showed it to be in a nice neighborhood with little crime. That turned out not to be the case, but we couldn't look it up until we'd moved in, and got internet hooked up.

      Secondly, the bathtub wouldn't drain in less than an hour. This is for me, an adult man to take a shower. I'm not a teenaged girl, so I take short showers. It still drained very slowly. The same for my wife. We called, send a letter asking them to fix it. They ignored. We sent another letter. They ignored it again. I went to the office to find out what the hold up was. They said they'd get someone there by the next day. They didn't. Keep in mind, it's not like we have another bathroom to shower in. We also have an infant daughter who gets to bathe in this. Not at all cool. We finally called a plumber, who came, snaked the drain, and all was well. Took him ten minutes, and he charged $100. We withheld that from the following months rent. At that point, we had been requesting for over thirty days to have working plumbing. not complaining about something trivial, like a toilet that keeps runnings, or a mismatched doorknob. Plumbing.

      Once it started to warm up, we turned on the central air. It didn't work. If you've ever been in north Carolina, a/c is pretty much a requirement. I was paying for an apartment with central air, and i'm entitled to have an apartment with central air. Again, we called and sent a letter to the office requesting a/c service, and were told that it's not their responsibility to give us a brand new unit. I never asked for a new unit, I asked for them to fix OR replace the one that looks like it's been there since the place was built in 1978. I told them that was my request, and they again ignored it. I'm not going to continue paying for an apartment that the landlord doesn't follow through on their obligations, so we elected to move. It took us a few weeks to close on the new house, and we will be out on July 15. We closed on July 2. Today, they posted a note on my door saying that they'll lock me out today. So far that hasn't happened, but I'm also pretty sure they don't have the right to do that. I've saved copies of my letters as well as their responses. So, in your little landlord minds, these things make me a deadbeat?

    • SUSANJK profile image

      SUSANJK 6 years ago from Florida

      That is very difficult. I was a landlord for the last 20 years and did not enjoy that part of the job.

    • profile image

      DLH 6 years ago

      I own a property in pa and live in Ohio. I recently let out managers go. The tenants only paid half of the rent for July and I was wondering my rights. The managers choose them to live in my home. And they have trashed it. The man is leaving for deployment in August and said we can not evict them. I want to know I should do and how to come about getting my money. And what my rights are being he will be away. His wife and children will be living there.I can not afford to pay for both my house in Ohio and my house in Pa. Please help.

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      tjenk 6 years ago

      yes. the land-lord has the rights to evict and pad lock a house; however if the tenants have paid every month and just happened to be one month behind, i think the tenants should be a little more understanding to their situation. In these hard times people are getting laid off all the time and finding jobs are harder and harder each day. Some tenants are really good people and they situation should be heard as well. It sucks to pad lock someones home because once you do that then all their belongings in the house are rightfully yours now. Thats too harsh

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 6 years ago from United States

      Thanks for the great information ,Nice info

    • profile image

      MAD 7 years ago

      This is my first time evicting tenants. I am in awe as to how much these people are allowed to get away with- they have not paid in two months- I am paying the mortgage/rent for my unit because I do not want to lose the property- Yet they are living there for free and are taking me to court with false accusations- Unbelievable as to how long it takes just to get into court- (Still waiting for the date)-

    • profile image

      Billy 7 years ago

      you have a contract: you agree to pay in FULL and on TIME, otherwise, 3 day or quit warning, after that you are evicted through the proper legal procedure. Period. No mamby pamby american nonsense. rules are rules. we provide a nice, safe, clean place to live, and the tenant pays on time and in FULL. period. simple, no crazy making imbecilic nonsense of checks in the mail, or bad months, or bad year, the excuse abuse will occur trust us. a contract is a contract. period.

    • profile image

      Amanda 7 years ago

      The Other Side: I'm a landlord of a single family home. My husband and I supplement the rent (The total mortgage and taxes are $2000 and the tenant only pays 1600). We pay the $305.00 condo fees for maintenance on the home every month. I also pay the private sewer fee that is $200.00 quarterly. Believe you me, the tenant is hardly helping us out here. However, my tenant pays late almost every month and we're okay with it. Unfortunately this month, they have taken our good relationship and trust and not paid us at all. We have done our due diligence by these folks so we expect the same respect back. That is all we ask.

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      Paula 7 years ago

      In response to, The Other Side...Youre a moron I dont think anyone that posted here is a slumlord....Regrdless if we know how to spel or not we are property owners, we pay our bills and dont use and cheat people out of money. We know the concept of paying our bills on time. Which is more than i can I can say about the morons who dont understand the meaning of renting and paying rent....

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      Paula.....NewJersey 7 years ago

      when my curent tenants moved in a few months ago they both had good paing jobs, then all of sudden they are both jobless and on welfare, they told me they are trying to get free public housing and thAT social services told them they ned to have an eviction notice, so now they stop paying rent..I think they are doing it on purpose to get the eviction notice and get assistance...I cant wait to bring this up in count.. also i thing they are working somewhere off the books now i will find out where they are working and expose them in court not only will i evict them but i will make sure they get in trouble for fraud..............these losers are going to be sory they messed with me.............

    • profile image

      EHOJER 7 years ago

      Yous are all ridiculous. No renters are NOT overprotected Slumlords like most of you must be are the ones with to much in your corner. Why don't you fix things you are supposed to and not give them a reason to not pay.

    • profile image

      The other side... 7 years ago

      This is quite humorous to find a page where property owners are crying and patting each other on the back as if they deserve sympathy. No one here mentioned the "Slumlord" persona so prevalent in this country, or the scores of property owners that get wealthy off of renting substandard housing to single Mothers and their children that have limited options in the first place.

      I have yet to meet a property owner that was not all about gathering his/her check at the beginning of every month without doing any upkeep on the home or having any concern for the families that have to live there.

      .....and as one last comment, I have never read so many misspelled words coming from Americans that should have atleast a baseline knowledge of their own language.

    • profile image

      Mz M 7 years ago

      NJ punishes the landlord. Have a tenant who came to us in 9 mths ago thru a realtor; expected realtor did due diligence, later found out he did not because she was a nurse & in his words "she's good, she's a nurse" She was late 1st 3 mths then stopped paying altogether, owes 5 months now. Sent notice to cease, then notice to quit as of 7/31. have had local cops looking for tenant, plus secret service for counterfeit money. our mail gets co-mingled & we see tenant gets notices for different courts regularly. filed eviction complaint, court messed up date, new date was 3 wks later. It's now 9/23 & the Constable just gave 3 day notice. it's 2 family so rent is needed to carry the place, living on social sec'y and having to dip into retirement savings because of this piece of trash who thinks she should live free. I can only imagine the mess the place will be when (if?) the tenant leaves. We have another tenant wanting to come in 10/1 but can't guarantee it will be available because of the games our courts let the tenants play. If you go to supermarket & don't pay for the groceries you can be put into jail - isn't not paying rent stealing housing? Why do the tenants have so much lee way and the landlords have to foot the bill?

    • profile image

      Beth 7 years ago

      Nightmare evicting in New Jersey. The tenant had two free lawyers and an interpreter. He had two months before we got to court to move, but the date on the notice was a few days off. His free lawyer pointed it out and I lost. Next, I hired a lawyer and still had to knock the bill down. He trashed the apartment. All they have to say is "it was like that" or not let the inspector in, or just keep appealing and dragging it out. They get free lawyers doing all this.

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      Mary 7 years ago

      There should be some laws about this nonpayment . The land lords are the most effected..

    • profile image

      DoMyOwnEvictions 7 years ago

      The first thing that pops into your head, I am sure, is “yeah right, how do you enforce them paying that, and how do you prove it.” It is not in there to have you make more money. It is another provision in the lease that gives you additional ammo, so to speak, when the time comes for an eviction.

    • Property-Invest profile image

      Property-Invest 8 years ago from London

      A really helpful hub for landlords. Thanks!

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Great Hub - a friend needs this - shipped it over to them! Thank you for sharing!

    • profile image

      loutz 8 years ago

      I am a present being sued for libel by my tenant. Being made aware that illegal activities were happening on the premises but not being able to have proof,or evidence and our lawyer knowing this, sent them an eviction letter stating what we believed they were doing, ( mind you this was not what we asked our lawyer to do as we had no proof) and set off a libel suit against us.

      they have not paid rent now for 2 months, the lease has expired, there lawyer will not allow us to sit down and talk to them, they want to go to court and sue with damages for libel, there lawyer is saying they don't have to pay there rent.

      My question is.. legally do the tenants have to pay rent while awaiting the above said court case.

      any advise would be great, thank you in advance.

    • RK Sangha profile image

      RK Sangha 8 years ago from USA

      A useful hub. Bookmarked.

    • cashflow7 profile image

      cashflow7 8 years ago

      Not a bad article for evicting a problem tennant. Keep in mind though that each state is different and make sure how you handle the situation is legal. ("locking a tennant out"???).

      P.S. Anyone interested in the Property Management field especially making it your career pls. contact me as I am interested too.

    • profile image

      InfoHound 8 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

      Good job, but I'd be extremely wary of lockouts as this has enormous potential to work against you in court. Even if only used as a means of getting a tenant to contact you, it's really easy to spin in front of a judge, "couldn't get there and was homeless for a night," "can't read," "someone stole the note," etc.. All these leading to the picture of your tenant sleeping on the street in court, and you're responsible. I would definitely recommend just hanging around the property and getting some upkeep finished while waiting for the tenant to show and then serving, or hiring a cop to serve notice. (

    • awsydney profile image

      awsydney 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Do you have landlord insurance in the US? Here is Australia, we can take out a landlord insurance which covers non-payment of rent as well as malicious damage to your property. Cheers Albert

    • MistHaven profile image

      MistHaven 8 years ago from New Jersey

      It's very interesting to see the persepctive of a landlord when evicting a tenant that doesn't pay. Normally you only hear it from the tenant's end, and it seems like landlords have to do a lot of work for something that isn't there fault to begin with.

    • profile image

      Johnson 8 years ago

      It is a business, and you follow the rules (unlike the dead-beat, immorals) who are illegally inhabiting your premises without paying rent. What planet are you from whereby you can inhabit another's dwelling and NOT pay?!?! Soft rules, soft procedures, and candy-assess, that is why we have large deposits to protect ourselves from deadbeats and conartists who try to terry nickell dime the system.

    • Team Building profile image

      Team Building 8 years ago from Bedford, Texas

      This is such a hard situation but since rental properties are a business, sometimes you have to put emotions aside and do what you have to do. You give some great information for any landlords who may be experiencing this problem.

    • profile image

      Jim L 9 years ago

      The system is not just not fair to the landlord. The tenents have to much protection and they know it. The get four months for the price of one. What gets me is it is not only the money you lose from the tenant but also all the paperwork and court cost

    • Karen N profile image

      Karen N 9 years ago from United States

      really helpful information, I'm going to bookmark this.


    • profile image

      Manjit 9 years ago

      really helpful...

    • shailini profile image

      shailini 10 years ago from Bangalore, India

      good one

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      M- check your local laws but yes, in most places you can lock them out as long as you place a letter on the door stating where they can get the key,a nd you have to give them the key when they want it. It is not a way to get the rent but to force them to talk to you.

    • Mschanl profile image

      Mschanl 10 years ago from USA

      Can you really lock out a tenant just so he/she would see you? I thought that's illegal and might put the landlord in trouble.

      We're also currently evicting a non paying tenant. I thought that since they're a military family that the rent would be reliable. Seems not to be the case at times.

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 10 years ago from New Zealand

      Yeah pick your property and your tenants - though are most reliable tenants look like mongeral mob members wear full face tattoos, have a huge dobermann (who is a sweet as) pay the rent in cash weeks in advance and keep the place immaculate - you just cant tell sometimes!

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      The thought of that and seeing first hand what tennants can and do to your investment and often get away with its. Stopped me from buying another house to rent out.

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 10 years ago from Lancaster, Texas


      as a matter of fact, I was at court for that just this afternoon. BLAH!

    • donnaleemason profile image

      donnaleemason 10 years ago from North Dakota, USA

      Great job.


    • Kathryn Vercillo profile image

      Kathryn Vercillo 10 years ago from San Francisco

      Really practical advice for a common problem; great job!

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 10 years ago from New Zealand

      One of the nasty sides of being a landlord - we are evicting tenants at the moment for annoying the neighbours, loud parties etc - but my poperty manager handles all the details that's what I pay her for!


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