The Rules of Engagement: 3 Tips for Evicting Troublesome Tenants

Written by Posted On Thursday, 07 July 2016 12:18
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Evictions can be scary. You never know when you show up on that doorstep whether youre going to be face-to-face with the Incredible Hulk, an armed lunatic, or a sweet, unassuming lady who reminds you of your grandma.


How do I evict a tenant? is a question every landlord would love to avoid. The scenario fills us with anxiety, along with anger and resentment. But at the end of the day, its a necessary part of the job that crops up every so often.


I still remember my first eviction like it was yesterday. I spent a long time stewing, trying to figure out how I could subvert the rules and just go yell and scream at my tenant because I was so mad at him. 


Now that I’ve been doing this for more than a decade, I have a much healthier, calmer outlook.

Think of it this way: Enterprise Rent-A-Car doesn’t get mad when someone returns a dirty car. The company just vacuums it, rents it out again, and resumes making boatloads of money.


Be More Like Enterprise


Sadly, some tenants just aren’t going to pay, and they’re not going to take great care of the home. When that’s the case, you have to cut your losses, go through the eviction process, kick them out, find new tenants, and get back to making money again.


You’ll almost always win in court. At the very least, you’ll get a court-ordered possession judgment and have your property back in no time. Even better, you may also get a money judgment that gives you a chance of actually collecting the back rent you’re owed.


Just breathe, take a moment to get your emotions in check, and start working on the eviction process. 


Here are three tips that will help make any landlord an eviction expert:


1. Read Up On Squatter Laws


“I know my lease starts on Monday, but the house is vacant, so do you mind if I just put some of my stuff in the garage?”


We run into this question nearly every single month, and the answer always has to be “no.” In some states, the instant tenants puts their belongings in the home, they have tenancy. Even somebody who hasn’t signed a lease can actually declare to have possession of your property.


In certain areas, this is called “squatting” and is considered trespassing. But even if there’s no lease and you’ve never met this person, you have to go through the legal eviction process. You cannot physically remove him or her...yet.


2. Know When You Can Get Physical


I know firsthand how hard it is to not lose your temper when you’re being ripped off by a tenant. It feels unhealthy to bottle up all that rage, and — though I’d never advocate acts of violence — there are certainly scenarios when it’s OK to unleash your fury on the tenant.


For example, if you’ve already provided the tenant with an eviction notice, you show up to carry it out, and he or she physically confronts you, you have every right in the world to let out some of that aggression.


Legally, you’ve done your due diligence and given the tenant a chance to leave peacefully. If he or she refuses to do so, you’re now contractually obligated to go into the house, forcefully remove him or her, and reclaim what’s yours.


3. Have the Police in Your Corner


Maybe you’re a tough guy who can hold your own. But if you’re anything like me and know you’re heading into a potentially dangerous scenario, call the local police or sheriff’s department ahead of time to explain what’s going on. They’ll be happy to send an officer or two to help out.


However, don’t ask them to use their muscle for anything other than defusing a tense situation. For example, they’re not going to help haul the tenant’s junk out of the home. The police won’t touch anything on the property, no matter how much beer and pizza you offer (trust me, I’ve tried). You’re going to have to pay a moving company to do that.


Although it’s difficult at first, your first eviction may leave you feeling exhausted. Stay focused on becoming a wealthy landlord, and keep the negative thoughts out of your head. Know that an eviction is part of the business — and focus on buying the next property that will make you rich.

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Mike Kalis

An entrepreneur at heart, CEO Mike Kalis leads the team at, a Detroit-based brokerage that specializes in new construction sales and property management. Marketplace has sold more than $3 billion in new construction homes and gained a controlling interest in more than 2,500 single-family properties. It also offers new-construction homebuyers a guaranteed lease on their previous properties for up to six years. It is currently the third-largest property management company in the United States.

Mike has been featured four times on the Inc. 5000 list, and in addition to his managing partner role at Marketplace, he is a venture capitalist and investor for ZipTours. The startup helps homebuyers and renters view homes with agents who stream live to their smartphones. It has conducted tens of thousands of tours since March 2015. When he’s not busy creating new real estate solutions and helping investors purchase new-construction homes, Mike loves wakeboarding, playing guitar, and spending time with his family.

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