Eviction is only used as a last resort. If you have a tenant who refuses to communicate, cannot come into compliance and won’t move out on their own, eviction is sometimes the only solution. But, if it can be avoided, it should be. For owners, evictions are expensive and frustrating. They’re disruptive to your cash flow, and usually when you get inside of a property from which a tenant has been evicted, you’ll discover that it’s not in great condition. You can expect to spend a lot of time and money preparing it for the next tenant.
At Clients 1st Property Management, we maintain an eviction rate that’s less than one percent. If we do have to evict, it’s usually because a self-managing landlord comes to us for help. We know exactly how to proceed, and we work quickly with the courts to come to a favorable ruling and a Writ of Possession that allows us to take back the property as soon as possible.
Eviction is rare around here, and we believe it’s because we screen tenants well, share our expectations when it comes to rent collection and lease enforcement, and work with residents when they need some help.
Here are some tips and best practices from an Atlanta property management team that manages to evict less than one percent of our tenants.
Rigorous Tenant Screening to Avoid Eviction
A robust tenant screening process is perhaps the first and most important way to avoid eviction. When you have a clear and comprehensive look at a potential resident’s financial standing & rental history, you will be able to deduce the probability of an eviction.
We recommend that you put together a list of the leasing criteria you require in order for a tenant to be approved for your rental home. You’ll want to include credit and income standards as well as criteria around criminal backgrounds and prior evictions. Be sure to check the national eviction database. Many landlords make the mistake of just checking for evictions and criminal backgrounds locally. You never know where your tenants have lived before; utilize all the resources that are available.
To avoid eviction, we talk to current and former landlords about their experience with the tenant we’re considering. Ask for this contact information on your application and make sure to get a signature from the applicant that gives you permission to call and talk to those landlords. We always ask the following questions:
How much rent was paid?
Was rent always paid on time?
Did the tenant receive their full security deposit back?
Were there any lease violations during the tenancy?
Did you notice property damage after your tenant moved out?
Would you rent to this tenant again?
You’re most interested in the questions regarding rent payments. If the tenants had one or two late payments over the course of a few years, it’s probably nothing to worry about. If a Pay or Quit notice had to be served every month of the tenancy, that might be a cause for concern.
Rent Collection and Lease Enforcement
Most evictions occur because of nonpayment of rent. So, you’ll need a strong, consistent, and well-enforced rent collection policy for tenants to heed. We’ve found that residents who understand what’s expected of them do a much better job of managing their responsibilities and meeting those expectations.
A good rent collection policy will be included in your lease agreement and discussed with tenants ahead of their move in. You’ll want to include details such as:
How much rent is due.
When rent is due, and whether there’s a grace period.
How rent should be paid. Do you welcome online rental payments? Checks? Money orders?
Penalties of late rent, including any late fees.
Reinforce this policy whenever appropriate.
Enforcing the rent collection policy should be part of your overall lease enforcement strategy. You want to conduct routine inspections and keep an eye on how your tenant is performing. Are there dogs at the property that were never approved? Do more people seem to live in the property than are listed on the lease agreement? Address these issues with your tenant and bring them into compliance so you don’t have to evict.
Tenant Relationships and Atlanta Property Management
Another great way to avoid eviction is by establishing and maintaining great relationships with your residents. This will have a huge impact on the success of the entire tenancy! Developing a solid relationship with your tenants will help you avoid having to evict a resident, even if they are no longer able to pay rent.
When tenants feel comfortable with open and transparent communication, they’re more likely to tell you if they’re having trouble coming up with rent for one month. The tenant will also be less likely to damage your property or move in a couple of unapproved Pit Bull puppies. Be responsive. Be willing to listen. Be professional.
A good tenant relationship will make it easier to set up payment arrangements if necessary. This will avoid eviction and show your residents you’re willing to work with them if they fall into a situation where they’re behind on rent. You’d rather have them work out a payment plan with you than stop paying and avoid communicating.
Atlanta property management can be a game-changer when it comes to avoiding eviction. You won’t have to worry about the tenant relationship at all; your property manager will take care of setting expectations, enforcing the lease agreement and rent collection policy, as well as working out any payment plans or payment agreements that are necessary in the event that rent cannot be paid on time.
Don’t rush into eviction. Take some time to find out what’s going on with your tenant and whether you can come to an amicable solution that is favorable to all parties involved.
If you’d like to leverage our low eviction rate, we’d love to talk with you. Please contact us at Clients 1st Property Management. The Clients 1st Team brings you decades of combined real estate industry experience and over 30+ years of property management experience in the metro-Atlanta and surrounding areas. Our award-winning team provides quality & reliable service to all of our homeowners, buyers, sellers, tenants and investors.