Where Can You Find Good Eviction Advice?

Author: Todd Christiansen | Category: Eviction Law

Many years ago when I started as a landlord, I was amazed to find that most knowledge around owning investment properties is learned.  Very few books really exist on the topic or when they do, they really don’t give you the entire picture of how to manage tenants and the property.  Plus, the information out there was often from different parts of the country or they were renting different types of buildings that I owned.

I did the best job I could.  I made mistakes and learned from them.  You could say that I learned how to be a landlord at the school of hard knocks!  Then it happened, a tenant stopped paying her rent.  I needed to do an eviction.  I found that there was even less information out there on how to do an eviction.  I didn’t know anyone that had done an eviction, there were zero resources on the internet for me in Minnesota, and even the court website was pretty bad.

After doing many evictions now, here are some thoughts that I have on where to get good eviction advice:

  • Probably the most important item is to gain the knowledge before you need it.  In the military, they train the soldiers with live weapons and even do simulated combat training.  This is so that when they actually do enter combat, they have some experience to deal with what they encounter.  Doing evictions should be the same way.
    • Head down to eviction court, get a copy of the documents that you need to fill out for an eviction notice.  Talk to the workers at the counter, ask them about the process, how long it takes, what it costs, what mistakes are common.  Suck up info from them.
    • Find out when the next eviction court date is and attend.  These are typically open to the public so just sit in back and listen to what the judge asks, what the landlord says, and what the tenant does.
  • When it it is time to do your first eviction, you may want to consider hiring an eviction lawyer.  This person will go through and do all the work for you, but ask them to include you in the process (you are paying them, so they should be willing to do this).  If your jurisdiction requires a tenant eviction letter, have the attorney give you a copy once it is sent.
  • Whether you do the eviction yourself or hire a lawyer, make sure to save copies of everything so that you have something to refer to later when you have to do your next eviction.  Filling out that printable eviction notice, will always be confusing if you don’t have a reference to look back at.
  • If possible, find another experienced landlord that you could take to lunch to pick his brain about doing an eviction.  He would probably be happy to share his stories and lessons learned.

Doing an eviction can be an intimidating process.  Finding places that you can get good eviction advice is an important first step in making it easier.

2 Responses to “Where Can You Find Good Eviction Advice?”

  1. Thanks for all the great information on this blog site. What a resource. Thank You!

    I am a landlord with 5 properties under my belt and am just beginning the process of not renewing a tenant’s lease. He has paid his rent on time approximately 40% of the time over the last 2 years, has refused to pay the greatly reduced late fee I’ve offered him for this last month’s rent, and has written to me that he won’t be paying any more late fees, arguing that they are unconscionable for someone who can’t afford rent. Where he is threatening to violate his lease is with stating that he won’t be paying late fees. (I have tried to find any info I can on what are the laws on late fees in MN and what I’m finding about late fees at all, is very vague) Since he is refusing to honor the lease with regard to the late fees, I have opted not to renew his lease. He is required to be out by January 8th, 2011. He just wrote me back to say (he is a 2 bit attorney himself) that he will move when he is good and ready. Can I start the eviction process based on him telling me he won’t be leaving?

    I’m thinking I’d like to pay an eviction attorney, but the link for the one you recommend seems to lead me to another blog post on your site. In other words, I’m not finding the $195 attorney you are suggesting…

    I’m inclined to handle this process myself, but because he has proven to be so difficult, and is an attorney himself, and I surmise that he’s been through this process before, I would like to investigate an eviction attorney.

    Thank you for any advice or suggestions you may have.

    Sincerely,
    amy

  2. I will check on that link.

    You can’t start the eviction until he actually overstays his lease. The late fees are a very flimsy case to make in court (just deduct the late fees from his damage deposit). Make sure you have given him proper notice that you are not renewing his lease.

    You can contact Attorney Matt Engel, (651) 209-6884 for help. I would recommend this since this tenant is an attorney. It will be $195 well spent!