Filing for Eviction
Written by Connor Swalm
No matter how extensive our application process may be, we really cannot avoid the fact that there may be instances or situations where a tenant will not be able to pay their rent on time or not at all. This is just one of the challenges a landlord or a property manager faces. More often than not, you resort to eviction to recoup your losses or get possession of your property. It would help to be prepared for this so you will not be wasting a lot of time and money while trying to do this. We have dealt with a tenant who was not able to pay the rent so we had to take the next step and file for an eviction. The good thing was we were able to do some research before filing and was able to ask for assistance from some people, making sure that all our forms and documents were filled out correctly. Though we were able to evict the tenant without an official eviction notice as we came into an agreement with the tenant, we have learned enough the first time on how to properly file for an eviction.
The key to filing an eviction is having the correct documents together. Remember that a single missing document or a document with the wrong information in it would make your case thrown out, so you must make sure that you have everything you need before you file the case for eviction. Sending the 5 and 7 day letters have been discussed in another blog and it has been mentioned that though these are the easiest to do, these are mostly done incorrectly. So what happens if you have done it incorrectly? Most certainly, the case will be dismissed and the months of preparation will go for naught. So remember, the 5 and 7 day letters must be filled in with the right information and should be sent correctly. Another important thing is that you cannot add any more information than what is stated in the Delaware Landlord-Tenant Code. This is to ensure that your case will hold in court and you will get the results that you want.
Another thing you need to take note of is timing. As they always say, timing is everything. The rent is already late at the stroke of midnight on the 5th so you must already be prepared to send the letter out on the morning of the 6th, which is the day you are legally allowed to send the letter. It is extremely important to know that filing for eviction too soon will invalidate your case. Make sure to file it after the correct number of court days has gone by, otherwise, you will have to start all over again, which would mean more expenses and more time wasted. Remember that you file for eviction no matter who the tenant is, or how much they owe, or whatever the reason may be for not making the payment. You must be consistent with this so your tenants will know what to do the next time they are not able to make the payments on time. Ultimately, this helps protect your interest as a landlord.
I would also like to point out the importance of proper representation. Whether you are the owner and representing yourself in the case or you are a property manager representing an owner, do not forget to fill out the Form 50. This form, once signed and notarized, allows you to represent an LLC or a corporation. Failure to do so would disqualify you from representing yourself or an owner in an eviction case.
So please take time to carefully plan the eviction case that you are filing. Making sure you have the documents complete and correctly filled out, be aware of the day you are legally allowed to file a case, and having the proper representation recognized by the court.