clearly, evicting a tenant is not a thrilling part of real estate investing for the tenant or the landlord. What follows is a description of the eviction course of action itself (especially as it pertains to what can be expected in Ohio), peppered with some of my personal comments with regards to how I typically manager evictions.
Generally, if I’ve not received rent monies from a tenant by the 8th or 9th of the month, I call the tenant. My leases stipulate that the tenant has a grace period until the 5th of the month to mail rent monies without being charged any kind of late fee. As long as the envelope is postmarked by the 5th – no late fee. Allowing 3 or 4 days (from the 5th) for a tenant’s payment to arrive is pretty liberal and plenty of time to allow for the monies to be received from cross-town mail.
If upon a call to the tenant I believe we’re going to have problems, I closest deliver a 3-day notice to the character. A copy of the notice is made before delivering. The 3-day notice is posted (taped) on the front door of the character if the tenant or other occupant is not there when it’s delivered. Any tenant that reaches this point (the starting of the eviction course of action), is advised that the 3-day notice is simply being posted as a way to protect my interests in the event the tenant doesn’t make good on the noticeable monies due.
Attaching a 3-day notice to the tenant’s door does not negatively affect the tenant’s public record. It’s not until the 3-day is formally filed that it becomes public record. The landlord cannot file for eviction until 3 business days have passed from the point the 3 day-notice was placed on the character. Once the 3 business days are up, the landlord can begin the formal eviction course of action. How does this start? You will take your paperwork, including a copy of the 3-day notice, and file to have an eviction hearing. I use an attorney to course of action all of my evictions. Specifically, one specializing in handling evictions. I personally prefer using an attorney that will try to cure the situation with the tenant before the case is already heard. You don’t have to use an attorney – you can do a lot of this yourself and save a few bucks, but I recommend you use one. If you’ve never been to your local court system to observe eviction hearings, I highly recommend it. You’ll quickly get a flavor of what takes place during these hearings and will know what to expect ahead of time should you ever get to the point of processing an eviction on one of your own similarities.
You can expect it take approximately two weeks before your hearing is scheduled. It’s important to observe that I always keep the communication line open with the tenant by this whole course of action. I think this is extremely important. I want the tenant to know that I don’t like going down this path just as much as the tenant doesn’t. It’s not my goal just to boot a tenant out of the character. In fact, I try very hard to work out payment arrangements or already payment assistance resources with the tenant in an effort to get him or her back up on their feet. Yes it may take a little hand-holding and some of your additional time, but I’d say eight out of ten tenants going by this additional hand-holding will appreciate your trying to help and will ultimately clear their overdue balances with you. You walk a very fine line here with the tenant in that he or she may also be taking advantage of you. It can be a tough call. At times it can simply come down to relying on your gut feeling with the situation.
If judgement is taken (in your favor) at the hearing, the estimate will give you permission to “red tag” the door. A red tag is just that – it’s bright red and has marked on it the date that possessions will be moved out of the character if the tenant has not vacated. The tenant has five days from tagging to get out of the character. It will usually take 2-3 business days after the court hearing for this tag to get placed on the front door of your character. Again, I keep the tenant abreast of my intentions during this course of action. You as the landlord call the shots with regards to whether or not any possible set-out occurs. I mention to the tenant that I nevertheless do not desire to set character out at the curb, and if payment arrangements can be made, the set-out can be averted. You will again have to make the call here. Do you want to accept only uncompletely payment for what is owed and try to position a plan for payment on the additional monies? Or do you feel the tenant is just not going to make it, and in this example, follow by with the eviction course of action?
The final step is the dreaded set-out. It’s extremely scarce that I ever have to get to this point. If it comes this far, frankly the tenant deserves it. I’ve given them every opportunity within reason to try and cure the situation or move out on their own accord. If the tenant has not moved out by the date stipulated on the red tag, you as the landlord have the right to order a set-out with the bailiff. Again, an attorney that specializes in evictions really helps here. In Columbus, Ohio, you only have a two hour window Monday-Friday to request and schedule a set-out. Additionally, the set-out must be scheduled within ten days following the red tag, or you have to order a supplemental red tag (more money).
When the set-out is requested (it’s generally a day and time agreed upon by you and the bailiff), you will be expected to have at the minimum four people dedicated to setting furniture and belongings out of the house. You will also be required to have trash bags and boxes to pack items before removing them from the house. Good maintenance workers will be handy to have when you get to this point.
As you can see, evictions can be a rather drawn-out course of action that generally take a good three to four weeks to run their route. This is why I believe it’s very crucial to always continue good communication lines with your tenant and try and be as specialized as possible in handling the situation. It will be frustrating!…but try and keep an open mind into ways you can help your tenant get by this. A good positive attitude can go a long way to making this course of action less stressful to both you and the tenant!