As a landlord, one instance in which you will need to know the law is if your tenants have pets in an apartment against the lease terms. While you might be tempted to change the locks or remove the tenants’ belongings, do not do it. This will lead to huge fines and a massive legal mess. Instead, there are some steps you can follow to deal with this legally.
Send a Lease Violation to the Tenants
The first step is to send the tenants a Lease Violation notice within 72 hours. Email a copy, and send a hard copy as well. While you can send the hard copy via certified mail, the tenant might refuse to sign it. Another idea is to send it with a constable; then, you have proof that it was delivered.
Collect Evidence of Pets
On the third day, walk through the apartment to gather evidence of pets. Thoroughly take pictures and videos. Do not forget to inform the tenants beforehand that you will be walking through the apartment.
Send Eviction Notice
If the pets are still not removed, then it is time to send a Ten Day eviction notice for default. This gives the tenants ten days to leave the premises. You can find a form online, and send it by email and certified mail. If the tenants refuse to leave, then it is time to move to the next step.
File Notice with Court
If the tenants still refuse to leave, then it is time to get the courts involved. Go to the county court for your district, and file an eviction with the county clerk. It will probably cost $120 to $300. The sheriff will serve the notice, and you will get a court date. Gather all of the notice copies, proof of notices sent, a copy of the lease, and the photos and videos. Finally, make sure that you arrive promptly on the dates. If you miss one, then there is a chance that the judge will rule in favor of the tenants and their pets.
While you can follow these steps on your own, you might want to hire and retain a lawyer. It will be a bit more expensive, but it will make the process easier. You should also check your state’s Landlord/Tenant handbook to see if there is anything else that you might want to do.