We all wish we lived in a perfect world where landlords and tenants never found themselves in conflict. Unfortunately, that's not always the way it works out. Whether it's because of a problem tenant, a personal situation, or a financial need, it may become necessary to find an exit strategy for your current resident.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to motivate a tenant to move out early, it will be much easier if you have one of the best property management companies in San Antonio working on your behalf. If not, you still have options—but you might be in for an uphill battle.
A quick foreword: This article is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. If you're facing a challenge that requires the skills of a competent attorney or expert property management, reach out for more guidance!
Know the Rules
The most important thing to remember as a landlord is that you must honor the lease agreement between you and your tenant, and you must follow the letter of the law. This isn't just for your tenant's benefit; it's for your own. Make sure you understand landlord-tenant law in Texas before attempting to get a tenant to leave your San Antonio rental property.
One of the most common ways to get a tenant to move early is through eviction—but be careful. There must be just cause to evict a tenant, and there's always a risk that you'll get dragged into an emotionally and financially draining court battle. In most cases, there are better options than eviction. However, if you do decide to go this route, be sure to brush up on the Texas eviction process before you proceed.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to eviction. As one of the best property management companies in San Antonio, we've learned a few things about encouraging tenants to move in ways that are completely legal—and usually satisfactory to all parties.
- Put a clause in the lease: This requires some planning ahead, but you can legally ask a tenant to move early if you put a provision in the lease agreement stating that you have the right to do so. For example, you can include a clause to the effect that the lease will terminate upon sale of the property, or if you wish to live in the property yourself (typically with 30 days notice). If you go this route, make sure the tenant is well aware of this clause; don't bury it in the fine print.
- Offer cash for keys: This is an option wherein you essentially offer to buy a tenant out of their lease or offer a cash incentive to move. Meet with your tenant, explain the situation, and offer a fair amount of money (usually enough to put down a deposit on a new rental) if they move out by a certain date and leave the home in an acceptable condition. This option does cost you some money, but it's usually less than the expense of going to war in court.
Ultimately, the most important thing to remember about getting a tenant to leave early is to keep the proceedings as civil as possible. As the landlord, it's your responsibility to take the high road. Be firm, but courteous, and keep lines of communication open. As Forbes points out, communication is the number one way to maintain healthy landlord-tenant relationships.
How Not to Act
You may, at times, find yourself desperate to remove a tenant from your property. But no matter the situation, there are certain actions you should never take. The worst mistakes a landlord can make are bullying a tenant, and not respecting the terms of their own lease. Even in the most challenging circumstances, be sure to never:
- Make threats of any kind
- Directly demand that a tenant leaves
- Remove the tenant's property
- Change the locks while the tenant still lives there
- Cut off utilities.
Property Management Can Help!
There are a lot of benefits to having the best property management company in San Antonio overseeing your property, but one of the greatest is that you don't have to deal with tense tenant relations one-on-one.
At Real Property Management Campanas, we handle a lot of different aspects of your property for you, including two key components that can help you avoid sticky situations with tenants:
- Thorough tenant screening and selection: We take the time and care to screen potential tenants to avoid problem renters. We look at credit score, employment, rental history, criminal background, and other factors to find tenants who will pay rent on time and respect your property like it was their own.
- Strict and compliant evictions: No one ever wants to have to evict a tenant—but in situations when a tenant needs to be evicted, our team is knowledgeable about all local and state tenant/landlord laws. We will handle the entire eviction process smoothly and easily, and landlords even have the option to benefit from our Eviction Protection Program.
Ready to learn more about how property management can help resolve difficult situations with tenants? Reach out any time to find out how our team at Real Property Management Campanas can help.
We have over two decades of experience in serving landlords like you, and we're committed to maximizing your property investment. Whether you own one rental home or a dozen properties, you'll find we're your next best investment!