Just because you are the owner of the property, you do not become the lord to do whatever you want in your rental income property. Landlords who believe they can do anything often find themselves in a mess and even facing cops who have come to arrest them on the complaint of a tenant.
Your tenant has a legal possession of the home
Once you sign a lease agreement with a tenant, he is the rightful owner of the place as this lease grants him legal possession. He gets some rights that he enjoys, and you cannot interfere with these rights even when you are the actual owner of the property. The unit in which your tenant lives is his abode where he has right to privacy and comfort. He has right to his security and his possessions. He expects you to honor his rights and keep his home habitable and safe for living.
Do not enter the home without giving a notice
Knowing all these rights of your tenant, you cannot go inside the home of your tenant any time you so desire. Believe it or not, there have been instances where tenants have called in cops and asked them to arrest their landlords just because they barged in without asking for permission. You can be charged for trespassing in your own property if you commit this mistake. It is not that you cannot visit the home of your tenant, but you need to give at least a notice of 24 hours before entering the home. Usually tenants have no objection to their landlords paying a visit for a routine inspection and they give their approval to your request for a visit.
But a tenant can get angry and upset if you knock at his door without giving any notice for a visit. There is no need for a notice if there is an emergency and the tenant himself has asked for help for a repair inside his home. If there is no such emergency, it is your duty as a landlord to ask for prior permission by giving your tenant a 24-hour notice.
Always follow the legal process
Also, you are inviting trouble for yourself if you try to lock the home of your tenant and deny him access to his unit. You cannot do this whether he has not paid his rent or been involved in a dispute with you. There is a set procedure that must be followed by the landlord if he wants to take back the possession of tenant’s unit. It is referred to as eviction and every state has clearly defined process that must be followed by the landlord. If you try to circumvent this legal procedure, your tenant can act against you.
Many landlords believe they can force a tenant out of their property by seizing their belongings. You cannot take control of tenant’s belongings when is out as it is considered illegal in most states. If your tenant has silently moved out without paying his dues, you still cannot throw out his belongings from the abandoned unit. There is a legal process in every state that you must follow by giving a proper notice in writing. Your tenant can initiate a lawsuit against you and even get you arrested for stealing his possessions.
Do not make the mistake of turning utilities off in the unit of your tenant if he has not paid his monthly rent. Instead of solving your problem, this step can increase your troubles as your tenant will prove that you are violating the terms of the lease by making his home inhabitable.
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