Navigating an eviction for the first time as a landlord can feel like a daunting task. But it's far easier if you arm yourself with knowledge beforehand.
That means understanding the legal process for eviction and the steps to make the process smoother. We'll cover both in this article as we explore a Cleveland landlord's guide to evictions.
The Grounds for Eviction in Cleveland
You have to follow the law when evicting a tenant in Cleveland. They will need to have met a specific reason, such as:
- Non-payment of rent
- A lease violation
- Illegal activities
What you can't do is evict tenants for personal reasons. Nor can you evict in retaliation for legal tenant actions (for example, if the tenant reported a housing violation).
You must understand the legal framework for the eviction process before taking steps to remove a tenant. Doing so will help protect you against potential lawsuits.
The Legal Process for Eviction
Your first step to starting an eviction in Cleveland is to issue a formal eviction notice. If you are dealing with non-payment of rent, you must give three days' notice.
This gives the chance for the tenant to comply by paying the rent. It's the same for other issues like lease violations. The landlord can file a lawsuit in court to progress the eviction.
To support your eviction in court, ensure you have all the relevant paperwork, like lease agreements.
What to Expect in the Court Hearing
When you get to the point of an eviction hearing, you and your tenant can present your case in court. The judge will want to see the lease agreement, payment records, and the formal eviction notice.
When the judge has listened to the evidence, they will make their ruling. If you win your case, the court will issue an eviction notice. However, the tenant can still appeal at this stage.
Can the Tenant Raise an Objection?
If the tenant corrects the violation, they can defend the eviction notice. Or they could question the validity of the notice, for example, by claiming an improper notice due to habitability issues.
As a Cleveland landlord, you must be prepared for these objections and have a plan of how to address them. You may need a legal advisor to support you.
Post-Eviction: What Happens Next
If you succeed with an eviction, you'll regain possession of your property. At this point, it's wise to check the building to ensure it's clean and in a good state of repair.
If the tenant has left personal belongings, return these in line with Cleveland laws.
Document any damage beyond normal wear and tear. You will be able to deduct any damage from the security deposit. Work on returning the property to a presentable state and re-listing it for rent.
Evictions: Keeping the Process Legal and Stress-free
As long as you know and follow the law, evictions are manageable. Always ensure you get everything in writing if you end up in court. Small preparation steps could help you avoid problems later.
If evictions and landlord issues like chasing rent sound like a worry, help is at hand. You can get our property management services team to do that work. To find out more, head here for information on what we offer.