Nashville Property Management Blog

How do I evict someone?

Property Management Connection - Friday, November 9, 2018

If you’re asking this question, most likely you’re in a bad situation. It’s going to be OK though.

Property owners generally seek out The Property Management Connection’s help with eviction in two situations. The first is if a tenant is one day late on their rent. The second is when their tenant is two to three months late on rent. The second situation is certainly a dire situation.

The likelihood of needing to evict a tenant is normally directly related to your screening procedures. In any given year, we anticipate an eviction on about two-tenths of one percent (0.2%) of our properties priced at least $1,200/month. Nationwide, the annual eviction rate is about 2.5 percent.

The Property Management Connection is here to help with your Nashville area properties in distress. The following information is based on Davidson County (Nashville) and does vary by county. Also, this information should not be considered as legal advice.

Step 1 – Hire a property manager. Frankly, if you’re in the situation of needing to evict someone, you need professional help. At this point you’re going to lose thousands of dollars more with the eviction than you’d ever save by self-managing.

You can request a management proposal from us by clicking here. Once you sign the management agreement, we can start the eviction process within one business day.

Step 2 – Notice to tenants. PMC’s lease agreement is drawn up by our Tenant-Landlord Law attorney (i.e. eviction attorney) and it has the tenants waive eviction notice which allows us to file immediately without notice to tenants. Unfortunately, most outside leases we see do not contain this provision and in turn we have to give notice to the tenant –as much as 14 days.

Step 3 – Hand over to attorney. PMC maintains our Tenant-Landlord law attorney on retainer so we can file eviction on the same day that the notice requirements have been met. The attorney charges a flat $250 fee to file eviction. We need the tenant’s lease and ledger to give to the attorney.

Once the case is filed, a process server must make three attempts over three days to serve the tenant. If the tenant has not been served in person by the third attempt, the server can post the notice at the property and mail a copy to the tenant.

The tenant must be given notice six days prior to court. Often our court cases are on Wednesday or Friday. This means we must file no later than the prior Tuesday or Thursday, respectively, to make three attempts prior to the six-day period.

Step 4 – Court. In a normal situation our attorney is able to collect a judgement in our favor at the first court hearing. In rare situations, the judge may reset the case a week later or schedule a trial. If there is a trial, a member of the PMC staff will attend to testify that the lease and ledger are accurate to the best of our knowledge. If a PMC staff member must attend court, we will charge an hourly rate as outlined in the management agreement.

Step 5 – Post judgement. Once we have a judgement secured, there is another 10-day waiting period for the judgement to go final. During this 10-day period, the tenant can make a full payment of their outstanding balance plus attorney fees and court costs in order to “pay-and-stay” at the property. The tenant can also appeal the judgement during this 10-day period, but in order to appeal, the tenant must pay the full amount owed so it is extremely rare for the tenant to appeal the judgement.

Step 6 – Set out. If the tenant has not paid nor vacated the property at the end of the 10 days, our attorney will file a writ of possession. Usually 3 to 5 business days after the writ is filed, the Sheriff’s office will oversee the set-out of possessions. A moving company follows the Sheriff’s deputies around and actually performs the removal of possessions. The moving company charges about $80 per hour for their services. A member of the PMC staff will meet the Sheriff and moving company on site. There will be an hourly charge for this as outlined in the management agreement. Our locksmith will come out that same day to change the locks on the property. Note: the Sheriff’s office generally refuses to do set-outs the week before and after Christmas.

Step 7 – Collections. Once the tenant is set-out from the property, we can apply their security deposit towards the outstanding balance. Once any tenant-damages are repaired, a final balance of charges owed by the tenant will be determined. A court hearing is scheduled for about a month after the set-out to receive a judgement against the tenant for the amount owed. The standard PMC lease states that we can add attorney’s fees equal to one-third of the balance owed. Some outside leases include an attorney’s fee provision. Our attorney’s office also provides collections services. The attorney retains one-third of the collected amount as their fee and remits the remainder to PMC. The collections process can be slow - taking months to years.

Timeline Summary. Generally, we can have a tenant set-out in approximately 25 days from when we turn over the case to the attorney. As noted above, there are certain exceptions which could extend this timeline to 40 to 45 days.

Bankruptcy Exception. If a tenant has filed bankruptcy, our attorney cannot file eviction until approval is received from the federal bankruptcy court. There is a cost of about $380 to file a request for relief from the bankruptcy court. It generally takes about 30 days to receive the approval from bankruptcy court to file for the eviction.