Evicting Tenants Repeatedly

Author: Todd Christiansen | Category: Eviction

Frequent fliers is an appropriate albeit unfortunate nickname that we call tenants that we have to file evictions on frequently. In fact, I just had another tenant eviction with a particular tenant that leases a nice 3 bedroom home in Minneapolis. They pay $1200 per month. We have filed 6 evictions in 8 months on them. Every time, they show up at court, work out a payment plan, make the payments, and then don’t make the rent the following month. Rinse and repeat. In the end, with the court and late fees, they are actually paying about $1750 per month for that 3 bedroom home!

So what do you do if you have one of these frequent fliers.  Here are a couple different options:

  1. Just keep filing the eviction to get them to pay their rent.  Some people seem to work best under pressure, others are procrastinators, others avoid unpleasant situations or discussions.  Show them your are serious about evicting tenants.  Whatever the case, if they want to keep paying the court fees and late charges, but are otherwise decent tenants, keep them!  Just know that at any time they could wake up and decide they are not going to pay or stay.  Keep them on a short leash and don’t expect that because they have done it this way 6 times before, they are going to do it a 7th!
  2. Consider using a letter of eviction, which is a non-binding letter stating that if they don’t pay up, they are going to be evicted.  Maybe this will be just enough to get them to pay or come up with a payment plan.  This could save you (and them) the hassle and costs of eviction court.  Plus, if you send this letter earlier in the month, maybe you will get resolution to the problem quicker than waiting the 2-3 weeks to get to housing court.
  3. Push them out at court.  This can be either a hard or soft push.  There are many times when I can see that a tenant is not going to be successful at making a payment plan or even if they make the payments this month, they are exhausting all their options for next month’s rent.  I just simply tell them that if they move out in 7 days, we will let them break their lease and this stress of finding the money will be over.  While you are out the rent, it at least get’s this problem tenant off your books and you can find a new one that maybe will pay on time.  A hard push is to refuse to accept anything but full payment immediately.  No payment plans, no grace period.  Money now.  This may be more difficult if they bring an eviction lawyer to court.
  4. Push them out prior to court.  In certain situations, I have met with a tenant and said:  “You owe me rent, but if you move out in 7 days, I will not file an eviction.  You can simply go somewhere else.”  Hopefully they see that you are serious about evicting tenants.  This does work if you have a good rapport with the tenant.  Again, it can speed up the process of getting them out and often the tenant will see this act as generous on your part and will probably leave happily.

While these are not a complete and exhaustive list of what to do with your frequently flier tenants, it can give you some ideas of how to handle them when you are down at court for the Nth time to evict a tenant.

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