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Shutting off a tenant’s utilities could get you in trouble

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2022 | Eviction

If you have a difficult tenant who you want out of your premises, frustrating their stay sounds like a sure way of getting them to vacate. Turning off their utilities like water, heating or power may seem like the perfect plan, but it is not. You could get in legal trouble if the tenant decides to sue you for wrongful eviction.

Every tenant has a right to live in a habitable home, and turning off basic utilities amounts to constructive eviction. You cannot change the locks to the premises or remove your tenant’s belongings without a court order either. You must follow the law when evicting your tenant.

Here is what you need to do when evicting your tenant.

You may have to give your tenant notice of their eviction

Depending on your reasons for eviction, the law requires you to give notice to them. While you may not be required to issue an eviction notice for failure to pay rent, other circumstances may need you to notify your tenant of your intention to evict them.

For instance, you may issue them a three-day notice to quit for disorderly conduct or destruction of property. If the issue persists past the three days, you may begin the eviction process. You can also issue a thirty-day quit notice for violating the lease agreement’s terms.

What next?

Remember, you cannot take matters into your own hands just because you have issued a notice of eviction to your tenant. You have to go through the court process to make the eviction legal.

It may be necessary to get help to avoid being on the wrong side of the law. It can be costly for you if you evict the tenant without following due process.