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Unlawful Detainer: A Landlord's Biggest Mistake Is...

I represent many landlords in their business affairs -- handling lease drafting, regulatory matters with cities, unlawful detainer actions, and other such matters.  Time and again I have seen landlords make what I consider their biggest mistake:  waiting too long to start the unlawful detainer process.


In a nutshell, the unlawful detainer procedure process is simple.  An eviction complaint is filed, a court date is assigned on a date within 14 days of the filing of the complaint, the squatters are served, there is a hearing, presumably the landlord wins, a writ of recovery is issued, the sheriff serves the writ, and the tenants then have 24 hours to vacate the premises.


While straightforward in process, the process still takes time.  From start to finish, landlords can expect at least 3 weeks for this process to run its course.  But, say your property is in a busy county like Hennepin County or Washington County, the sheriff may need a week or so to serve the writ.  Now a landlord is looking at a month of time passing, a month that is in addition to the time the squatters have already not paid.


Additionally, when tenants know they are being evicted, they are more inclined to damage the property.  Simply, their degree of interest in getting any money back is usually overmatched by their spite for the evicting landlord.


I recommend that if your tenant is up to 2 weeks late, start the action.  Your lease should be written to allow you to charge the tenant for the filing fees and other costs to enforce the lease.  A court action may prompt the tenant to pay up, which is easier to do when less is owed, or you will get your property back much earlier.  Either way, you benefit.

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney. All information contained in links are the property of the linked site.

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