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When Eviction is The Wrong Call

Stressed Burlingame Property Manager on the PhoneAs a Burlingame landlord and rental property owner, you need to embrace the reality of evictions. A difficult tenant isn’t always solved by eviction, though. Evictions are time-consuming and expensive for both you and your tenant. In fact, most of the time, neither the property owner nor the tenant benefits from the eviction process. Due to this, it could be that evicting a tenant is the less ideal thing to do. In this case, it would most likely be better for you and your tenant to find an alternative to eviction.

Your Otherwise Good Tenant Falls Behind on Rent

A good tenant is a key to owning a profitable rental property. Sometimes even good tenants can run into economic difficulties, lose a job, or otherwise find themselves unable to meet their rent payment. It’s undeniable that non-payment of rent is a clear violation of their lease. But evicting a tenant for missing one or even several rent payments could be a premature decision. This is especially true if the tenant was previously paying on time and is doing a good job keeping up with cleaning and property maintenance.

Hence, a good option would be to discuss payment schemes with your tenant so that they can catch up on missing rent payments — this would be a good alternative to eviction. So long as the tenant’s financial difficulties are temporary, you can move forward without the expenses that come with evicting and replacing your tenant, and you get to earn their heartfelt gratitude. Being willing to take a temporary financial hit will most likely help you recover all of the missing rent payments in the future, and keep for yourself a good tenant, too.

You’d Rather Keep Your Money

The eviction process can cost you a lot of money, and that’s not just from all the legal fees you have to pay. There’s a big chance that when your tenant finds out that you are evicting them out of the rental home, they will stop paying rent. So, the cleaning and upkeep of the property will also stop. This often leads to both lost income and higher cleaning and repair expenses.

Because of the expense and trouble of the eviction process, you can even think about just paying your tenant to move out. This type of “cash for keys” arrangement could enable a tenant experiencing financial difficulty to leave on good terms or to move out at an even earlier date. It might sound odd to offer money to someone who owes you money, but even a lump sum cash payment of several hundred dollars is far less than you’d spend forcing the tenant out through an eviction.

You Don’t Have Clear Legal Grounds

Lastly, there are situations when an eviction might not actually solve anything but provide legal problems, instead. You do not want this at all. One reason is that there could be so much ambiguity in your legal grounds for the eviction. If your tenant has complained about the property’s habitability, either directly to you or the local housing authority, and you haven’t taken steps to address the complaint, your attempt to evict the tenant could be deemed retaliatory and dismissed.

Another thing you want to consider is that your eviction might be considered discriminating against a tenant who is part of a protected class. Evicting a tenant based on their age, religion, skin color, family status, sexual preferences, and more is illegal, and you could end up getting sued by your tenant if you try to do so.

Finally, make sure you stay away from accepting any kind of partial rent payments before or after trying to evict for non-payment of rent. You could lose legal grounds for the eviction if you choose to accept any amount of rent from the tenant. This is because accepting partial payments creates an implicit agreement between you and your tenant that a judge will likely deem a continuation of your lease agreement, even if it isn’t in writing. It’s best to hold off on any major decisions, especially when you know that you don’t have any clear-cut legal grounds for the eviction.


One of the best ways to avoid evictions entirely is to find a good tenant with a strong history of on-time rental payments. The only thing is, how can you be sure that your next tenant is that kind of tenant? At Real Property Management Mid Peninsula, we carefully screen all rental applicants to find only the best possible candidates for your rental property. Then, if any problems do arise in the future, our Burlingame property management experts can help guide you through the best course of action to take. To learn more, contact us online or call 650-696-1800 today!

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.