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Harassment During Eviction: How to Avoid It

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on February 27, 2013 6:04 AM

Getting an unruly tenant to leave is complicated, but be careful how you do it. Your actions could be considered harassment.

There's a legal process for eviction that landlords are supposed to follow. Trying to get a tenant to leave without following that process can result in a lawsuit.

But how do you know where to draw the line between trying to get rid of a terrible tenant and actually breaking the law? We've put together a list of common things landlords aren't allowed to do during eviction. Check it out below.

  • Letting utility companies in to cut off service. Getting involved in a tenant's utilities is not allowed and neither is letting people on or off the property without permission.

  • Changing the locks. The tenant should have access to the property up until the day of eviction. Keeping her out will only get you in trouble.

  • Dumping the tenant's property. You can't stop a tenant from getting in and you certainly can't get rid of his things. Coming home to find his stuff outside will only make your tenant angrier.

  • Threatening. Any attempts to intimidate tenants into leaving are strictly forbidden.

  • Telling the tenant to leave. There's a legal process you have to follow, including serving a notice of eviction. Just telling the tenant that he's being evicted won't cut it.

  • Entering the premises without permission. Just like during the rest of the lease, you cannot enter the premises without permission during eviction. Resist the urge.

  • Not waiting long enough. Like any legal process, eviction takes time and there are mandatory periods of time between each step. If you try to act before the time is up, the tenant may sue you for illegal removal.

More questions about how to evict a tenant who won't pay or follow the rules? Check out our free mini guide for all the answers.

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