March 9, 2023

How to Get Rid of Bad Tenants

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How to Get Rid of Bad Tenants

 how to get rid of bad tenants

Being a landlord becomes a nightmare when the tenants are terrible. Instead of getting consistent rental income, the landlord loses thousands of dollars due to damages to property and unpaid rents. To avoid this from further causing stress and frustration, the landlord should immediately get rid of the bad tenants.

To get rid of terrible tenants, the landlord or property manager may choose to file a lawsuit and go to trial. Alternatively, the landlord can raise the rent, offer cash (cash for keys), find evidence of an illegal action the renter is doing, find them a new rental, etc. If all these strategies aren't successful, it may be better to sell the rental occupied by tenants to a cash buyer. 

Evicting a bad tenant is an intimidating task, but it has to be done at some point so the rental business can generate income and avoid negative consequences. If you need further guidance on getting rid of terrible tenants, this blog has you covered!

What is a Bad Tenant?

What is a Bad Tenant?

A bad tenant is someone occupying a rental property and causing trouble to the landlord. Usually, bad tenants are those that do not pay rent, cause damage to property, argue with the landlord constantly, and don't want to vacate the premises when the lease agreement expires.

Some bad tenants also file cases against their landlord or the property management company for very little reason. They are total nightmares to deal with as you can't reason with them.

To avoid these issues, landlords must screen prospective tenants carefully and establish good communication with them.

How to Get Tenants to Move Out of Your Rental Property: Eviction Process

How to Get Tenants to Move Out of Your Rental Property: Eviction Process

Evicting a bad tenant is the best way to get rid of them instead of resorting to sneaky ways. However, legal eviction often ends up in court and is very time consuming for the landlord.

According to SparkRental, the process of evicting a bad tenant is composed of five steps and they are the following:

Issue an Eviction Notice

Before starting an eviction case in court, you should first give your bad tenant a notice in written formbased on the move out policies in your area. This document should detail the problems as well the actions expected from the tenant to be made before a certain due date.

File an Eviction Case to the Court

Note that you cannot evict a tenant based on sex, race, religion, marital status, country of origin, sexual orientation, physical/mental disability, number of children, or job.

File an Eviction Case to the Court

If the problematic tenant fails to do the proper actions on the deadline you set on the notice, you may then file a case in court. Typically, you must fill out forms and provide evidence (i.e., receipts) proving that the bad tenant deserves eviction.

This part is super detail-oriented, so it makes sense to hire an attorney to guide you.

Ask for the Eviction's Trial Date

Ask for the Eviction's Trial Date

The majority of eviction cases go to trial because the problem tenants file a response. This indicates they want to participate in the lawsuit. When this happens, you have to ask for a trial date.

It's also possible for the eviction case to play out differently. This would depend on how your bad tenant will respond to the case you filed.

If they leave voluntarily, the case would be dismissed. If they didn't file any response, you can request for default and evict them. Meanwhile, if the problematic tenant files for financial distress, the court will decide if the eviction process will proceed.

Go to Trial

An eviction trial will occur so the judge can hear both sides. Landlords should prepare as much evidence as possible such as photos, receipts, etc.

Go to Trial

Wait for the Judge's Decision

Usually, judges give their decision right away. But in some cases, landlords have to wait a few days or weeks before the court passes judgment. 

If the decision favors the landlord, the problematic tenant would have to vacate the house and possibly pay money.

On the other hand, if the tenant won, they have the right to stay on the property until the lease agreement ends.

How to Get Rid of Tenants Without Going to Court

How to Get Rid of Tenants Without Going to Court

The eviction timeline varies state to state when the case goes to court. Some take longer than a year because the tenants are uncooperative and the court is packed with cases to deal with.

Given the lengthy process and the effort it takes to prepare evidence, most landlords choose to deal with difficult tenants on their own. Some of their strategies are common and acceptable, while some are creative and sneaky. 

Here are a few ideas you can consider.

Politely Ask Tenants to Move Out

The first option a landlord can do to get rid of bad tenants is to ask them to move out. Note that this should be done in-person, so both parties can speak out and possibly establish a good relationship. Ensure that during this conversation, you get the final word.

Offer Tenants Cash

Often called cash for keys, this strategy works by giving the tenants money, aside from returning their security deposit.

When you think about it, it would cost you more if the eviction case goes to trial. After all, what're a few hundred dollars compared to the thousands you'll pay evicting them legally? 

Cash for keys is proven to be the most effective strategy in getting rid of difficult tenants.

Don't Renew Tenant's Lease

Don't Renew Tenant's Lease

You don't have to renew your tenant's lease when it ends if you don't want to or if you feel like they are doing illegal activities. This is often stated in the lease terms.

However, you have to ensure that you send them non-renewal notices during the legal time window set by the state. Typically, this can span from 30 to 90 days. 

Raise the Monthly Rent

If your tenant is not on a fixed term lease, increase the rent to deter the tenants from staying. This is one of the most creative ways to remove a tenant that keeps going against lease terms.

Just be sure to check with your state and local laws, as some jurisdictions restrict how much you can raise the rent. This limit is usually set to protect tenants from greedy property managers and landlords.

If the tenant doesn't move out despite the increase, at least you get extra compensation for the stress they're causing you.

Help Them Find a New Rental

Some bad tenants don't want to move out because they don't know where to go or are already comfortable in your house.

To encourage them to move out and get a new lease in another rental, help them find a new property. Search rentals online or ask around so you can recommend a place for them to move into.

Get Proof That They're Doing an Illegal Activity That Goes Against the Lease Agreement

Issue an Eviction Notice

While you can't enter the rental without giving written notice (as a requirement of many leases), you still have one more option to find evidence that your tenant is doing some illegal activity or committing a lease violation. 

If you aren't aware, inspection isn't the only reason you can enter your rental.

If the rental property needs repairs, schedule to fix them when the tenant is away. While at it, check for evidence of illegal activities and lease violations. Snap photos and call the cops so they can do a full scale investigation and request the eviction proceedings to be expedited.

Serve Notices of Maintenance

As a good property management practice, you must do regular inspections on the rental property to identify things that need repairing or replacement.

If these issues are caused by the tenant, serve them notices to make repairs. Most often, the repairs are expensive and they can't pay for them, so they'll decide to move out instead.

Keep Rental Improvements on Hold

Although it is your duty to make improvements to the house and ensure that the tenants live happily in it, if they refuse to pay rent and cause extreme damages to your property, hold off any improvements you are planning

This can be your last resort when the tenants are extremely terrible and cannot be reasoned with.

What to Avoid When Getting Rid of Terrible Tenants

What to Avoid When Getting Rid of Terrible Tenants

To avoid serving jail time, you must still honor your tenant's rights no matter how bad and frustrating they are. Here are some of the things you should refrain from doing:

  • Removing the bad tenant's personal belongings while they are away
  • Changing the locks of the house without informing them
  • Turning off their utilities such as water and electricity

Often, terrible tenants are aggressive with their actions, especially when triggered. They may file a lawsuit against you, which may pose a greater problem than dealing with missed rents and damaged property.

Sell Your Rental with Terrible Tenants in it to a Cash Buyer

Sell Your Rental with Terrible Tenants in it to a Cash Buyer

If you've exhausted the list of strategies listed above and still haven't gotten rid of your bad tenant, it may be better to sell your rental property to a cash buyer. Most cash buyers buy houses with renters in them.

Of course, you must disclose the situation to the cash buyer and wait for them to decide whether they'll give you an offer. In most cases, selling a rental property with tenants is more successful when done with a cash buyer than listing through a local MLS.

Getting a cash offer for rental properties with difficult tenants in it is quite easy. You just have to contact the cash buyer, allow them to visit the rental to make an accurate offer, and sign an electronic contract they'll send.

Once the deal becomes official, the sale will go to closing, and you'll get your money in your bank account. You'll also be free of your bad tenants.

Final Thoughts: How to Get Rid of Bad Tenants

When getting rid of bad tenants, you should be polite and a little creative. Although not going to court and handling things on your own is quite risky (since many tenants are really horrible and tenant laws vary state to state), most landlords opt to do this to avoid lengthy trials and expensive fees.

If you don't want to deal with all the hassle of eviction, sell your house fast to a cash buyer.

Here at Sell My House Fast, we'll give you a fair cash offer for your rental with bad tenants in it. We'll also cover all property repairs and closing costs.

Fill out our form below or call us at (844) 207-0788 to start selling your rental property.

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catherine mack
Author: Andy Kolodgie

Andy Kolodgie is an experienced real estate investor with a network that expands nationwide. As owner of Sell My House Fast, Andy’s goal is to provide home sellers with more options to their real estate problems than a traditional home sale. 

He’s been featured on multiple publications including Amazon, Yahoo Finance, MSN, HomeLight,, Apartment Therapy,, LegalZoom, Zolo, and

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