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How to Evict a Tenant that Refuses to Leave

One of the nightmares of any property owner is hearing the phrase “tenant refuses to leave”. When the tenant refuses to leave your property, you know that you’re going to have to deal with an eviction – and that you’re probably going to have to worry about collecting back rent as well. Fortunately, doing so may not be as hard as you imagine, especially if you have the help of a property management company.

Tips to legally evict a tenant that refuses to leave

Getting a tenant out of your property can be difficult. It’s even harder if the tenant refuses to leave. Fortunately, there are tools available to help you. Make sure to pay attention to the tips below if you do have to remove a tenant from your property.

tenant refuses to leave

Do NOT rely on “self-help” methods

The most important thing to remember when evicting your tenants is that you absolutely can’t do it yourself. These so-called self-help methods are not only against the law, but they can actually be used by your tenants in court as a defense against the eviction. As tempting as it might be to get rid of your problem tenants on your own, it’s very important that you obey the law and wait for things to go through court. Your odds of getting away with a self-help eviction are low, while the odds of getting punished are incredibly high.

Do rely on local law enforcement to escort the tenant and their belongings off the property

So, how do you deal with an eviction when a tenant refuses to leave? Simply put, you follow the law. Make sure that you go through the courts first and give your tenants a chance to follow the law. If they do not do what they are ordered to do, you can work with local law enforcement to get them out of your property. The police will help you to not only escort the tenant off of the property, but they will also help you get the tenant’s possessions out of the house. This will give you time to change the locks and establish that the tenant has been well and truly removed from your property.

Collecting past due rent

The good news is that Arizona is very friendly to property investors when it comes to getting back rent. In fact, the state even allows you to combine your eviction and claims for back rent into one motion, allowing you to get a court order at the same time as eviction. Unfortunately, not every tenant is willing or able to cut you a check that day. When you face that kind of challenge, it’s important to know how you will be able to get your money back.

tenant refuses to leave

Wage garnishment

If your tenants are unwilling to pay what they owe you, your best move might be to get that money directly from their employer. When you get a judgment from the court, you’ll have physical paperwork that shows the ruling. You can take this paperwork to the tenant’s employer and the employer will be able to take that money directly out of the tenant’s check each month. This is often the best way to get money back from working tenants who are unwilling to pay what they owe.

Tax refund garnishment

If your former tenant works for themselves, or if the tenant is unemployed, he or she might not have a paycheck to garnish. Fortunately, you might still have other ways to get your money back. One of the best is to garnish the tenant’s tax refund, a process that takes a little more time and effort than garnishing wages but that can also be just as effective. When you garnish a tax refund, you’ll be able to sidestep employment entirely and get your money back directly from the government.

Using a debt collection company

If your tenant refuses to leave and you don’t want to go through the process of garnishing money from their check or wait on tax returns to come back, your best bet might be to work with a debt collection company. While actually getting back everything you owe with one of these companies can be difficult, you will be able to make sure that the future landlords will be warned of the tenant’s behavior. Debt collectors report a lack of payment to the credit bureaus, so those who refuse to pay will see their credit scores drop. This can be a good way to help other property owners be aware of the risks of working with that tenant.

tenant refuses to leave

Closing thoughts

If your tenant refuses to leave, you might want to leave the heavy lifting to the professionals. A good property management company like C21NW MoneyMaker can help you to remove your problem tenants quickly and efficiently. Even more importantly, the property managers can help you to screen your tenants so you don’t have to deal with such problems in the first place. If you’re dealing with problem tenants and need advice, give us a call today!

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