How soon evict?

If you have a tenant who does not pay rent, how soon do you begin eviction proceedings? In Colorado it is a hassle to evict and takes multiple court appearances over a period of a couple of months. How long do you recommend I should let the tenant put me off if he will not pay?

30 days past due, file goes to attorney.

30 days!! Not on your life! Learn from experience (hopefully not your own).

Set up your lease/rental agreement VERY CLEARLY on when you will actually file for eviction. Make sure that it follows the landlord/tenant laws for your state to the tee.

For example, due on the 1st, late on the 5th. On the 6th, pay or leave notice is sent/posted. On the 11th, eviction papers are filed. In order to stay, all rents due, all late fees and all court costs must be paid IN FULL with cash or certified funds in order to stay.

If you want 30 days and it takes months to get them out after you file, you could be wasting several months of rental income hoping for a little cash from them. DON’T DO IT!

If it’s a major pain to evict, try the old “move out by x date” routine. Basically, you let them know that you want them gone and if they leave by next Friday, the place is left in good, clean condition, that you’ll give them X amount of cash when they turn in the keys.


Thanks. Short of hiring a lawyer, where is a good place to look in order to find the state eviction law? What state department should I generally want to call?


What do you mean “x amount of cash by this date”? Sounds good but is that from their deposit? Do I write that in my lease that if they are late on rent their deposit will be kept to cover it? Or do I just pay them off in order to get them out by x date and give them deposit back if house in good condition?

I mean by “X” whatever amount that you feel it’s worth to you to get them out by “Y” date. X could be 1/2 the deposit, the whole deposit, or twice the deposit amount. That’s up to you. The “Y” date needs to be as fast as they can get out.

Example: Today is Sunday. You could say, Look tenant, this isn’t working out. Let’s end this contract on good terms, okay? Here’s what I’d like to do. If you can be out by this Friday, I’ll give you $X dollars as soon as we determine that the place is cleaned and in good condition and you return the keys. Will that work for you?


go to your state’s website and something like dept of consumer affairs, etc. Educate yourself on your state’s landlord-tenant laws.

Yes, try the “your are out in the 3 days and I’ll cut you $200 bucks”; it can work a lot of the time.

If it doesn’t , then you need help as these people are professional deadbeats. I would recommend hiring a company that does evictions. They usually have one atty signing the paperwork and a couple of other of other guys doing the paperwork.

Evictions are not a Do IT Yourself process (IMHO) and I do just about everything myself (drywall, plumbing, electrical, roofing, etc). In most states, if you mess up, you get back to the beginning; meanwhile your tenant lives for FREE. Get them out ASAP. In SoCalif, it cost about $400 plus some fee if the teant decides to fight you. That’s about 2 weeks rent on most of my places.

Good luck

Thanks. So if tenant leaves house in decent shape do you give them the deposit plus $200 back even tough they have not paid the rent in order to get them out? Or do you keep the depo. and just give them $200 of it?

Whatever works to get them out without damaging the property and without alot of lost time and money. Don’t overcomplicate this.

If you can get them out by saying, “look, you now owe me X for late rent. IF you leave by Friday and the place is clean and ready to re-rent, we’ll call it even.” Then great. If that doesn’t work or you don’t think it will, then try something else.

This isn’t going to work in all situations nor should it be tried in every situation. It’s up to you to decide. The important things to consider here are: 1) how long has it been since you’ve been paid, 2) how long will it be before you actually get them out with a standard eviction 3) how likely is it that they will completely trash the place during that time, and 4) how much will 1,2 & 3 total up to in lost rent, eviction costs, rehab costs and lost time.

If you figure that it’ll cost you $4000 to get them out, fix up the place and re-rent, then $1000 to get them out by YOUR date would be a good deal, correct?


it is a total numbers game (i.e minimize lost $$$) at this point; don’t get emotional (they’re screwin’ me, etc, etc) or get soft and cut the tenant slack becuase their cat/dog/grandmother/ etc died (or what other drama/excuse they have for being a deadbeat). Stay focus on get them out at a mininal impact to you financially.

Thanks. That makes a lot of sense to just do whatever works cost effectively to get them out. I am up against that now just trying to rent a place. I have had a couple of possible tenants take applications and then never follow through after days. So now I am just saying to a tenant, you only apply if you give me an app, sign a lease and give me a check for rent and depo and I send your check back if you don’t qualify. That way I don’t waste time and lost rent on possible tenants. And I have created qualification questions to ask on the phone before I even show it:

What is your take home monthly income? to verify rent no more than 30%.

I tell them my above approach and that if they like it I expect the above when I show it if they want to reserve it for an app.

I asked rate your credit score on 1-10 to disqualify bad credit up front and I tell them I will check credit on app they provide with $20 app nonrefundable app fee.

Can you let me know if any of the above does not sound right from your experience?

I can imagine that you’re having renting troubles.

Conservative lenders use 36% of GROSS, not take home pay, as their threshold for max monthly payment to income when determining whether to lend or not, so using 30% of take home, or net, is REALLY conservative. Especially considering that a) it’s a rental, and b) most non-conforming lenders will to it with a max of 50% of DTI (though that’s pushing it).

Ruling out bad credit is going to greatly narrow your scope of possible tenants. Remember, it’s a rental. If they had good credit, chances are good that they wouldn’t be renters. What you want to determine with a credit check is one or more of the following: a) they had good credit and something bad happened b) they had bad credit, but now have a history of making payments c) they actually have no credit, or d) they have at least paid for something (or said another way, make sure that everything that they have on their credit has not been a charge-off, repo, etc).

Phone qualification is good, but I seriously doubt that you’ll get any tenants other than the most desperate ( or cunning ) to actually give you a deposit and 1st month’s without knowing that they can actually rent the place. Asking for an application fee is standard and asking for a deposit to hold the place until they are approved is okay, too. However, you can’t rule them out simply because they refused to give it to you. That would be discrimination, which is very bad.


Do you think, then, I can typically get a deposit with the application? Then I can get the first month rent once I say they are approved?

What is discrimination about requiring I get an application back in order to rent to them? It doesn’t make sense to me to rent without an app.

I totally disagree with paying someone to move out. That might be ok if you have one or two SFHs, but it will result in disaster if you own apartment buildings or have a lot of SFHs in the same town. Tenants know each other and frequently talk. If you pay someone to leave, you will get a reputation as a weak landlord and the tenants will respond accordingly. Conversely, if you promptly evict non-paying and troublesome tenants, you will get a reputation of being a no-nonsense landlord and tenants will not test you as often.

I do agree with Roger about the application. Charge a non-refundable application fee, do a credit check and criminal background check. Tell the tenant on the phone what you are looking for. If you don’t want to waste you time dealing with tenants, then the rental business is not a good choice for you.

Good Luck,


I totally disagree with paying someone to move out. That might be ok if you have one or two SFHs, but it will result in disaster if you own apartment buildings or have a lot of SFHs in the same town.

Agreed. However, I don’t think that that is the case here, Mike. What rsupplee is looking for is the quickest, most painless way to get a problem tenant out of the property. Paying them to leave is one possible option. I don’t own apartment buildings, but I have friends that do and they have also used cash incentives for problem tenants to leave and it was VERY effective and did not cause a disaster.

As you well know, Mike, everything about this business is a time/money issue. Is it more effective to pay $500 to get a bad apple out quickly with little to no damage or to pay the cost of the eviction, the appeals (if the tenant is savvy) and the cost to repair the damaged unit plus the extra time to regain control of the property and the time to repair before rerenting? Each case is different.


No pay today …start to evict tomorrow!You are asking for rent on the 1st of the month right ?

time=money is very true when it comes to eviction type sitaution.

one of my prop. mgmrs was telling me this morning that just they had an owner who got soft and would not let them drop the hammer on a tenant…3 months later, they were out a combined total of over $7000 in late rent and damages by the time these people were at the curb.

about 18 months ago I had a rather lengthy eviction where the charges were over $3000 by the time the dust settled. I was very lucky as I was able to recover all of it since I was working with the sister of the tenant and there was money was in the family to cover the bills. As an aside, I worked with them to return a large amt of family photographs/heirlooms that the (drug addict) tenant abandoned when they bailed out to Mexico. The moral of this story however, is always screen your tenants when you get a new property; I “inherited” this tenant and suspected there were issues, but never dealt with it since the rent always came in. I won’t make that mistake again.

On the topic of inherited tenents…

Can you rescreen and run them through your app process when you purchase a property or are you stuck with the trash?

That depends on the inherited lease, Rich.

If you have a tenant that still has time left on his lease, then you’re stuck unless you can find a valid lease violation. Drugs would be one, in most cases.

However, if you didn’t get a written lease, or it’s expired, then in most states, all you have to do (sounds simple, huh!) is issue a 30 day notice of termination of rental (VERIFY YOUR STATE LAWS). If they don’t move, then you can evict.


The best advice I ever got before getting into the landlord game was " If you can’t evict a family onto the freezing streets on Christmas eve, then don’t become a landlord." Amen. I’m a warm, compassionate person. I’m also a business person. All my rents are due on the 1st. The very next day I mail and personally serve the tenant with a 7 day notice to pay or vacate the property (Michigan Law). There is absolutely no deviation from this. My tenants problems don’t become mine. If this means tons of evictions, so be it. Shame on me if I don’t do my due diligence before accepting them as a tenant.

                                 John McNamara