15 Feb How to evict a non-paying tenant?
How to evict a non-paying tenant?
Have you rented your house or apartment to a non-paying tenant? If so, you will want to terminate the lease as soon as possible to rent your property to a more responsible person. However, this is often not easy, as the procedure for evicting a non-paying tenant can be long and costly, and so you will need expert guidance such as Solicitor Torrevieja. In the next lines, we will explain briefly what to do.
When can you evict a non-paying tenant?
Theoretically, you could evict a non-paying tenant from the moment he stops paying you on the agreed days. Indeed, non-payment is one of the reasons for which eviction proceedings can be initiated, and a single monthly payment due can be a valid reason to terminate the lease (Civil Code, art. 1569, and Urban Lease Law, art. 27.2).
However, you should not act hastily. It is necessary to comply with all legal requirements before proceeding with the eviction. In addition, you should keep in mind that suing a tenant who has not paid a single month’s rent may cost more than the value of the money owed. Therefore, it is best to seek help and advice, which experts as solicitor Torrevieja can provide.
Procedure to evict a non-paying tenant
If the arrears are already considerable, the first thing to do is to demand payment in writing before initiating eviction proceedings. Sometimes this is enough to solve the problem.
But if you do not receive your money and you have finally decided to file an eviction lawsuit, you need to seek legal assistance of a lawyer and endorsement of a solicitor.
Once the lawsuit is admitted by the court, the tenant will be notified and will be given a date on which he or she must surrender the dwelling.
However, the tenant may decide to defend himself and hire his own lawyer. In that case, a verbal trial will be held, in which you still need legal counsel until the court sentences the eviction and the payment of the monthly payments due—including interest for late payment.
Only if despite the judgment of eviction, the tenant refuses to leave the apartment, you can have a locksmith force the door open. Remember you need to have the judgment in your favor.
If the evicted tenant refuses to pay the unpaid rent, you will still need to rely on your lawyer to claim payment. In this case, you can file a lawsuit for seizure of goods or garnishment.
Things you should not do when evicting a delinquent tenant
- First and foremost, do not be hasty. There are cases of non-payment that are due to a short and often justifiable delay. This can be resolved amicably and without resorting to any legal proceedings.
- You should not force your way into the house or apartment, even if it is yours, to evict the delinquent tenant, nor change the lock without a final judgment of eviction. The law also protects the tenant—inviolability of the dwelling is a right that prevails over that of private property.
- Nor can you make water, electricity or gas supply cut off while the tenant continues to occupy the property, or fail to meet your obligations as proprietor (e.g., repairing breakdowns).
- Never resort to physical or verbal violence. The delinquent tenant has the right to report the proprietor for threats and assault, because in this case, more than as a tenant, the law protects him or her as a citizen.
- Finally, remember that you cannot violate the law to enforce your rights, and that it is always advisable to look for help from an expert in property and leasing law.