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 10 Steps to Becoming a Good Landlord: Non-Payment and Eviction
By: Darin "Sid" Cameron, CRS
Mon, Dec 4th, 2006 2:44 pm

Over the past week I've written a series of blog posts on the 10 Steps to Becoming a Good Landlord.  Realize that when I say "good" I don't mean "popular".  Here now are steps nine and ten...

Dealing with Non-Payment

As I have already mentioned, no matter how detailed your application process is you will eventually end up with a renter that’s not paying rent.  Unfortunately, things can and will go wrong for tenants- job loss, injury or illness, divorce, marriage and a wide variety of other personal issues can turn a great tenant into a headache overnight or simply cause them to simply stop paying rent.

This is where you will need to think through your policies carefully.  A good, long-term tenant that takes care of your property and has a good payment record, might not be someone you want to lose if their problem is temporary.

Talk to your tenant to determine how deep the problem runs.  Perhaps you can work out a repayment plan to keep them in the property while getting caught up over time.  If not, make it clear that your decisions aren’t personal but are instead just operational procedures of your business.  Compassion isn’t limited to letting them live in your rental property for free.  Allowing them to exit a rental contract they can no longer afford and working with them to get moved out and even helping them find another, cheaper place to live can help you get out of your touch situation without having a tenant that digs their heals in and waits for a costly eviction process to run it’s course.


When everything else fails, you must evict the tenant.  This holds true not only for tenants that aren’t paying rents in a timely fashion, but for tenants that are frequently violating rules or disturbing other tenants.

The process to evict a tenant varies drastically from state to state.  Local municipalities may also layer on additional requirements.  But bottom line, there is a procedure you can follow to get it successfully done, and as the property owner you do have the right to reclaim your property.

What’s important to take away from this conversation is that prior to this happening for the first time, you need to have your strategy in place for dealing with evictions because if you’re a landlord long enough you will eventually have to do one.  So know in advance if you need an attorney.  If you do, you should already know which attorney you plan to use.  If you plan to handle the situation yourself to save money, you should have already versed yourself in state and local laws so you know how to proceed.  The worst thing you can do is find yourself in an eviction situation paralyzed as to what your next move should be- allowing the tenant even more time to tie up or damage your property.

[ Next Article: 10 Steps to Becoming a Good Landlord: Summary ]
[ Previous Article: 10 Steps to Becoming a Good Landlord: Tenant's Rights ]

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Darin "Sid" Cameron spent 15 years working in the technology industry which in 1998 relocated him to St. Louis. In 2004 he took over web development tasks for Kimberly's real estate team and later became the full-time Marketing and Operations Director in 2005. In 2011 Sid launched two brokerages, The Realty Store, Inc. and Realty Referral Partners, Inc, while continuing to perform marketing and operations for Kimberly's team. Sid holds a real estate broker's license in Missouri, CRS certification and was the first CyberStar in the St. Louis area.
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