When a rental property investor must deal with an eviction, it's the last resort after all other efforts to collect late rent or worth with tenants to comply with the lease failed.
If you're in this situation, you may wonder, how long does it take to evict a tenant? Whether you've already started the process or are still mulling it over, it's helpful to understand the basics of eviction, including the timeline. Our Columbia property management experts are here with the details on what to expect when dealing with a tenant you need to evict.
What Is Eviction?
An eviction is a civil process involving the removal of a tenant from the rental property where they live. The civil process results in a court order, allowing the tenant to be removed legally.
Property owners must have a valid legal reason to evict a renter, like unpaid rent or a lease violation. So, even if you don't get along with a tenant, that is not grounds to serve them a notice of eviction or begin eviction proceedings.
Reasons You May Evict a Renter
So, what are the valid reasons for eviction? With a valid lease, you can deliver a notice of eviction to a tenant for the following reasons:
- Failure to pay rent
- Rule or lease violations
- Engaging in criminal or destructive behavior on the property
To ensure an eviction can proceed based on valid claims, work with a property manager and your attorney to review the lease, collect documentation, and file your claim.
Factors That Could Affect the Timeline
Once you determine that you have the right to evict the tenant, you can move forward. However, it's not often a speedy process. Various factors can affect the timeline.
First, be sure to follow state and local laws. Depending on the location of your property in or around Columbia, different ordinances and regulations can apply to the process. The best property management companies can review the rules with you and help you follow the legal process and timeline to start and follow through with the process.
In addition, once you file a complaint to the tenant, you generally need to allow them some time to correct the problem. If the tenant fights the eviction with a countersuit, that can slow the process, too. Be prepared with evidence and possibly witnesses to counteract to support your claims.
How Long Does It Take to Evict a Tenant?
The length of time to evict a tenant varies, depending on the many factors involved. In a best-case scenario, it could be resolved in two weeks. In other instances, it could take up to three months for the eviction process to resolve your tenant issue and remove the resident.
The eviction timeline can also depend on the violations and the type of eviction notice required to remove the tenant.
14-Day Vacate Notice
Property owners can use a 14-day eviction notice for a tenant that fails to pay their rent. It serves as a warning to pay rent within 14 days, or the eviction process will begin with the courts.
However, this is just the first step in the process. So, after two weeks, if they don't pay rent, you move to the next stage of filing the complaint with the court and obtaining a date to present your case to the judge.
10-Day Notice to Comply or Vacate
Similar to the 14-day Notice, owners use this 10-Day Notice for tenants who don't comply with the lease in some manner. This notice gives them ten days to fix the problem, or the court case moves forward as outlined above.
3-Day Notice for Waste, Nuisance, or Illegal Activity
A 3-day notice is much more serious and urgent. This is because it involves some immediate threat to your property or public safety, like illegal activities occurring on your property.
When delivering this notice, a tenant has three days to leave the property without the option to correct the problem. If the renter does not leave within three days, owners can move forward with the legal removal process.
Reasons for a Slower Eviction
What can cause delays during the eviction process? If a tenant has several offenses, it can take longer for the court to sort out the issue. Delays can also happen due to a lack of evidence to support your case. If you don't have thorough record keeping or can't prove the tenant broke the lease, you may have to gather more information before moving forward.
In addition, if a tenant decides to countersue, this adds more time to the process. Countersuing involves filing a motion, which a judge must hear and respond to. In many cases, the judge sets a new date to allow the other party to develop their case and gather evidence.
Finally, in some instances, a tenant refuses to leave the property. When this occurs, the sheriff may need to be involved, adding more time to the process.
A Columbia Property Management Company Handles Evictions
While we hope you never have to evict a tenant, sometimes it's difficult to avoid. Renters Warehouse BW Metro can help! Not only do we deal with bad renters that need to leave your property, we understand the laws and help make the process as efficient as possible so you can move on from a bad tenant situation. We also help facilitate better experiences with your tenants through our screening process and property management services.
To learn more about how we can help you handle evictions, reach out to our team!
It's always good to be prepared for the possibility of eviction. Download our free "Rental Property Owner's Tenant Eviction Checklist."