3 Things to Do Before Filing for Eviction


For any landlord or property manager, filing for eviction is really the last resort when it comes to nonpaying tenants. Not only it’s a costly and time-consuming process, involving multiple notices, case filing, court appearances, and, possibly, hiring bonded movers, it creates a lot of uncertainty, especially how the tenant will react to eviction. One very important thing to keep in mind is that while landlords and property managers do have the right to evict a tenant for nonpayment, such a “nuclear” option should be used with discretion as it disproportionally and adversely affects the tenants. So, consider these three options before filing an eviction to rid of a nonpaying tenant.

Eviction Notice — Stock Vector

1. Get a rent assistance

Many local and county governments offer rent assistance for financially struggling tenants. Even when a tenant is behind on the rent payment, a lot of rent assistance programs can also be used to pay overdue rent. Also, it’s a much more reliable source as it comes directly from the county to the landlord. Rent assistance is a great tool to help tenants to overcome some short-term difficulties and get up on their feet again.

2. Work for rent

Managing rental properties is like running a business, and often involves hiring contractors to do many maintenance and update work. Sometimes, when the skill set of the tenant who is struggling to make ends meet and the need for a landlord/property manager’s hiring need aligns, it’s a perfect opportunity to work out a deal. Instead, the landlord can offer a rent reduction in exchange for certain maintenance work done by the tenant.

This type of arrangement not only helps tenants to overcome short-term difficulties but also lowers the project cost compared to finding a separate contractor, a win-win situation.

3. Offer Cash-for-keys

Eviction in some cities is very time-consuming. therefore, when considering the cost of eviction, we also must account for the lost rent throughout this process. So, sometimes, it makes sense to offer some cash money as a condition for the tenant to vacate from the premise sooner. For most tenants, choosing between getting hit by eviction and taking some money and leaving is a pretty easy choice. For landlords, this also creates less friction and less likelihood of extensive property damage than if the tenants were evicted.

Bottom line

Every nonpaying case is different, and it requires landlords/property managers’ judgment to determine what’s suited them best. Instead of defaulting to the most threatening and damaging solution, eviction, there are other more cooperative ways to resolve these issues by considering those three options.


Meng Chen

Founder at PortfolioBay