All things come to an end. If they’re good, they seem to be over far too quickly. But when they are not good, they can drag on and lead to extended personal stress and discomfort. The rental world is no different. Good tenants come and time flies past till they move on. But when things go wrong, it can be hard to get tenants to leave. Tasmanian property management specialist, Baxton in Hobart, deals with the issues of when and how to evict a problem tenant.
For self-managers, the concept of having to turn tenants out of their home probably didn’t cross their minds when they first thought about renting out their property to earn an income. As a consequence, the first time is pure hell, and subsequent evictions are only marginally better because they are no longer the first.
When are Evictions Justified?
You can’t just throw someone out of your rental for no reason. And if you think you have one, it has to be an acceptable and lawful reason. In Tasmania, one of the most common reasons why you may be forced to evict a tenant is if they fail to pay the rent or are late paying it on a regular basis. However, other issues can also allow you to serve a lawful notice to vacate. These include situations where the tenant has broken the lease agreement; caused damage to the property; become a nuisance to neighbours or used the property for illegal purposes. Early termination of the lease is also allowed if the property has been repossessed by the bank and is to be sold to recoup some of the lending institutions losses.
Processes to Follow when the Tenant has to Go
Negotiation with the tenant can offer the simplest solution to termination of the lease. The tenant may recognise that the writing’s on the wall, and be prepared to leave if offered a reduction in rent until the vacation date, and assistance with moving costs.
Serving a notice to vacate: This may solve the situation by making the tenant correct the problem. It may also succeed in causing the tenant to vacate. If neither of these outcomes happen, it can act as a precursor for further action.
The owner must serve a notice on the tenant, requesting delivery of vacant possession of the property. It must contain the date on which it is served, the names of the tenant and owner, details regarding the premises, the reason for the notice to vacate and the day on which the notice takes effect.
In some cases, such as rent arrears and some breaches of the agreement, the tenant is given a certain period (14 days in TAS) in which to make amends. If the tenant does so, the notice ceases to have an effect. However, these periods of grace sometimes work on a basis of three strikes and you are out. A third transgression in the space of a year means the final one is not rescinded even if the tenant makes good.
Going the legal route: If serious injury or damage is involved or could arise, the owner can apply for a court notice to terminate the tenancy agreement. The owner can also ask the Magistrate’s Court to intervene by issuing a court order to vacate if the tenant simply won’t leave.
All these processes have prescribed procedure and strict timeframes, and involve using the correct documentation and forms. The information included on the forms must be 100% accurate – one mistake can cause the effective date of the process to be delayed.
Evicting a tenant is not an easy thing to do, especially if you are a DIY self-manager. It is even more difficult if you have built up a working relationship with the tenant because your personal involvement may cause you to empathise with them. This is one of the reasons why rental property owners sometimes decide to hand over management to the professionals, calling in specialist property management services, like Baxton Property Management in Hobart, to run their properties and deal with tenants. For more information on property management and the services it includes, visit the Baxton website.