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When Eviction is The Wrong Call

Stressed Southwest Waterfront Property Manager on the PhoneAs a Southwest Waterfront landlord and rental property owner, evictions are sometimes unavoidable. Eviction shouldn’t be your go-to answer, though; especially when you have a difficult tenant. Evictions are often time-consuming and costly for you and your tenant. In fact, most of the time, neither the property owner nor the tenant benefits from the eviction process. So, don’t automatically think that evicting a tenant is the right course of action. In situations like this, it would benefit you and your tenant to find an alternative solution to eviction.

Your Otherwise Good Tenant Falls Behind on Rent

A good tenant is key to owning a profitable rental property. Sometimes even good tenants can run into economic difficulties, lose a job, or otherwise find themselves unable to meet their rent payment. It’s undeniable that non-payment of rent is a clear violation of their lease. However, evicting a tenant for missing one or even several rent payments may be unwise. This is especially true if the tenant was previously paying on time and is doing a good job keeping up with cleaning and property maintenance.

For this reason, it would be a good idea to look for an alternative to eviction. Maybe you can talk to your tenant and look for ways to help him/her make up for the missing rent payments. So long as the tenant’s financial difficulties are temporary, you can move forward without the expenses that come with evicting and replacing your tenant, and you get to earn their heartfelt gratitude. A financial hit in the short term won’t be too bad. You will eventually recover all of the missing rent payments in the long term, and you get to keep that good tenant, too.

You’d Rather Keep Your Money

The eviction process can get very expensive, and that’s not just on the legal fees. There is a very big chance that your tenant will stop paying rent when he/she finds out about the plan to evict him/her out of the rental home. Once the payments stop, so will the cleaning or upkeep of the property. This often leads to both lost income and higher cleaning and repair expenses.

To avoid the expense and hassle of the eviction process, you might even consider paying your tenant to move out. This type of “cash for keys” arrangement could enable a tenant experiencing financial difficulty to leave on good terms or to have them out of the property sooner than expected. Even though it may seem awkward to offer money to someone who owes you money, but a lump sum cash payment of several hundred dollars is far less than you’d spend forcing the tenant out through an eviction.

You Don’t Have Clear Legal Grounds

In conclusion, an eviction might not always solve the situation — it probably might even lead to more legal problems! No landlord wants to be in this situation. It’s not impossible for an eviction to be based on ambiguous legal grounds. If your tenant has complained about the property’s habitability, either directly to you or the local housing authority, and you haven’t taken steps to address the complaint, your attempt to evict the tenant could be deemed retaliatory and dismissed.

Another thing you want to consider is that your eviction might be considered discriminating against a tenant who is part of a protected class. Evicting a tenant based on their age, religion, skin color, family status, sexual preferences, and more is illegal, and you could end up getting sued by your tenant if you try to do so.

Finally, don’t fall into the trap of accepting partial rent payments before or after eviction for non-payment of rent. Protect yourself from losing legal grounds for eviction by not accepting any amount of rent from the tenant. This is because accepting partial payments creates an implicit agreement between you and your tenant that a judge will likely deem a continuation of your lease agreement, even if it isn’t in writing. If the legal grounds for eviction are not at all clear, it’s best to wait things out for more clarity.


One of the best ways to avoid evictions entirely is to find a good tenant with a strong history of on-time rental payments. Where do you look for these kinds of tenants? At Real Property Management Washington DC, we carefully screen all rental applicants to find only the best possible candidates for your rental property. Then, if any problems do arise in the future, our Southwest Waterfront property management experts can help guide you through the best course of action to take. To learn more, contact us online or call 202-813-9993 today!

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