Today’s topic is how to evict a tenant who isn’t paying rent. One of the best ways to drastically reduce your exposure is thorough tenant screening. You want to make sure the tenants earn enough money to pay rent on time every month, and you want to make sure they have no previous evictions.
The most important thing to know about evictions is that it’s critical to start the process right away. Don’t delay a single day. The best eviction policy is to not bother with grace periods. If rent is due on the first and they are even one day late, you should immediately send them a 7 Day Notice. That’s the first step in Michigan. In other states, it might be a 3 Day Notice. If your tenants call and tell you they will pay tomorrow or Friday or next week, it doesn’t matter. You’ll be pleased if they do pay and you get your money, but if they don’t, you haven’t lost any time in the eviction process. Don’t start too late.
When the seven days are up and you still don’t have your rent money, set a court date. That will take another seven to 10 days in Michigan, so the tenants still have some time to come up with the payment. Schedule with the courts, even if they say they’re going to pay. Your tenants might be good people and they may have legitimate reasons for being late, but it’s still necessary to move forward with the process. Once you reach court, the judge will give the tenants 10 days to pay.
During all these timelines, you should be trying to work with your tenants so they’ll pay your rent and you don’t have to evict them. However, if they have still not paid after the 10 days handed down by the judge, you may order a Writ of Eviction. That’s almost 30 days throughout this process that your tenants have had the opportunity to pay rent. If the tenants pays in full for the next month and sets up a payment plan to catch up with the month they missed, keep your options open and do not order the writ yet. If a tenant falls to pay the following month’s rent in full and/or does not make payments as promised, it is recommended to immediately order the writ, however if they get caught up again you do not have to exercise the writ by evicting them.
Landlords have up to 50 days to order a writ and another 50 days to enforce the Writ. If the tenant pays, you can let the writ expire. When you give your tenants the chance to pay throughout the process, you show them that you’re willing to work with them but that you aren’t going to let them get away without paying.
If you have any questions about evictions, or you need help with a tenant who isn’t paying rent, please contact us at United Properties, and we’d be happy to help you.