Are you frustrated at your non-paying tenants? Maybe you heard about that Canadian landlord who, frustrated at a non-paying tenant, took all the windows and doors off the home and quietly applauded their creativity. After all, non-paying tenants can be a serious drain on your resources.
Landlords have tried to get creative before, however, and it generally ends in massive amounts of trouble — for the landlord. In this country, no matter how problematic a tenant has become, “self-help” evictions that bypass the court system and skip the formal procedures are illegal. You don’t have to even do anything as extreme as removing the doors and windows on a residence (which is arguably not a good way to protect your property, either).
Self-help evictions include things like:
- Failing to pay the utilities so they will be turned off
- Turning off the utilities on your own (whether you’re tampering with city lines or not)
- Changing the locks on the residence when the tenant isn’t home
- Moving all of the tenant’s belongings to the curb while they’re out
- Threatening the tenant with violence or other harm if they don’t leave
Tenants are increasingly savvy about their rights and their ability to fight back if a landlord tries to rush an eviction along. If a tenant takes you to court over a self-help eviction and wins, you could be forced to pay them compensation worth far more than a month or two more of free rent.
If you’re struggling with non-paying tenants, find out what it takes to get the eviction process rolling — legally. It’s the best way to protect your rights.