Nobody likes to deliver bad news.
Especially when you’re telling someone that they have to move out of their home. But as a property manager, making the tough decision to begin the eviction process is sometimes necessary when a tenant isn’t abiding by the terms of their lease.
In order to evict a tenant legally, there are a few formalities you need to follow. The first thing you’ll need to do is send them a formal eviction notice, where you detail your reasoning for the eviction request.
What to include in an eviction notice
- Address the tenant
- Be clear about the purpose of the letter
- Provide a reason for the eviction request
- Name a reasonable date that the tenant needs to be out by
- Outline any action items for the tenant to complete
As you can imagine, the tenant won’t be pleased when they receive your letter so it’s important to make sure your message covers every key detail of your eviction request. In this article, we’ll share the five key elements of an eviction letter to ensure you don’t miss anything along the way.
Notice of eviction letter template
TIP: Want to cut to the chase? If you’re already familiar with what to include in an eviction letter, click through for a free downloadable template.
Key components of an eviction notice
Since tenants and property managers are bound by a legal leasing agreement, the process of breaking the agreement through eviction has to go through the court in order to be lawful. The first thing you’ll need to do is draft a formal eviction letter, also referred to as an eviction notice. This is your way of communicating to the tenant that you’re prepared to start eviction proceedings.
1. Address the tenant
This might seem obvious, but your first step should always be to directly address the tenant that you’re evicting. If multiple people occupy the unit, it’s especially important that you get your notice to the right person. A good rule of thumb is to address the tenant at the very beginning of the letter, as you would any other formal correspondence.
Additionally, you’ll want to remember other basics such as your contact information, the date of the notice, the address of the rental property, and the date the leasing agreement is set to end.
2. State the purpose of the letter
It’s imperative to be very clear with your intent. You don’t want to use convoluted language and potentially confuse the tenant even further. Choose words that are clear, concise, and communicate your message effectively. After reading your letter, the tenant should know exactly why you sent it and what the next steps are.
3. Provide a legitimate reason for eviction
Unfortunately, you can’t evict one of your tenants just because you don’t get along with them - you have to have a legitimate reason. What qualifies as “legitimate” can vary, but here are some common examples:
- Failure to pay rent
- Violating terms of the lease
- Leasing period ends but the tenant refuses to vacate the premises
- Partaking in crime or illegal activities on the property
- Serious damage to the property
Whatever your reasoning may be, it’s important that the details are included in your letter. You owe it to the tenant(s) to communicate exactly what they did wrong and why it’s legitimate grounds for eviction. Don’t forget to be specific. If they forgot to pay rent, include the exact dates that they missed a payment. If they damaged the building, share where the damage occurred and how severe it was.
4. Give a date that the tenant needs to be out by
You’re legally required to give the tenant time to vacate the premises. The amount of time will vary depending on your local state or city laws, so be sure to double check the rules in your area before you put anything in writing. In most cases, 30 days is a standard period of time.
You have the option to include a clause in your eviction notice that allows the tenant to remedy the situation in order to stay on the property. For example, if they’re behind on rent payments, you can give the option to pay their balance in full to avoid eviction. If you choose to include an option like this, be sure to state the expectations clearly, providing the tenant with the exact action they need to take.
5. Outline clear next steps
To wrap up, outline any clear next steps that the tenant should be aware of. If you’re giving them the opportunity to make any changes to fix the situation, be clear on what they need to do to meet your expectations. End the letter by signing your name, and the date of the notice. Before sending it off, be sure to keep a copy for your records.
Off to the post office
That wasn’t so bad, was it? Drafting an eviction notice isn’t going to be the most pleasant part of your job as a property manager, but it’s sometimes a necessary course of action. After you finish writing your letter, make sure you send it as certified mail to ensure it gets delivered safely.
Late rent payments aren’t always avoidable, but you should aim to make the payment process as painless as possible for your tenants. Explore property management software solutions and read unbiased reviews on G2.