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Evict or not to evict… that is the question.

When to evict…

It happens at least once every few days… some property owner asks me when to evict a delinquent tenant. This tends to be one of those questions where owners, and other property managers for that matter, have strong opinions about. A lot of people want to pound their chest and demand that eviction must start on the 10th or 15th day rent is past due. It’s nice to make bold statements, but life is more complicated than that.

Here are 5 questions that one should ask themselves that will help guide the answer of when to evict a delinquent tenant:

  1. Are your legal docs in order? Do you have a current rental license? Do you have a clear suitability? Did you do lead paint testing if there are children living in the unit? Does your lease meet legal requirements? If you answer no to any of these questions, you may not be able to evict even if you wanted to. You need to get your ducks in a row or hire a qualified property manager to do it for you.
  2. Do you think that this is a one-time event for the tenant or is the a continual problem?
  3. How’s your overall vacancy & delinquency rate of your portfolio? If you have a lot of other vacancy or delinquency, you may want to wait. On the other hand, if you have low vacancy & delinquency, it may be the best time to get rid of a slow-paying tenant.
  4. How marketable is the property? Is there something inherently challenging about it? Can a better tenant be found and how long would it take to find them?
  5. Do you have the cash necessary to do any fit out or renovation needed for the new tenant?

It would be nicer if there were a simpler answer, but it’s best to look at all sides of the issue in order to make the proper decision.

Ari Miller is a real estate broker and the owner of Real Estate Management Advisors, LLC (REMA) which specializes in commercial & residential property management throughout the Philadelphia area.