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Can property managers evict tenants?

Property managers hope never to have to deal with evicting a tenant. Unfortunately, sometimes the need arises, and when it does, there are set legal processes that must be followed. Property managers work as agents of the property owners, giving the former full authority to act on behalf of the latter.

Most evictions arise from a tenant breaking the terms of their lease agreement. An Eviction Notice may be given in these situations, with a clear explanation for the reasons why an Eviction Notice is being delivered. In general, there are three different types of notices:

  1. Cure or quit notices: fix lease violations or vacate the property.
  2. Unconditional quit notices: vacate the property.
  3. Pay rent or quit notices: pay rent that is due or vacate the property.

In some states, the landlord does not have to give a reason to support an eviction. These are Eviction Notices without cause. These generally require the landlord or property manager to provide tenants with a 30- or 60-day notice before beginning the eviction process.

Does the property manager need permission from the property owner to evict a tenant?

The property manager and property owner usually rely on a Property Management Agreement detailing the legal authority the property owner is giving to the property manager. Property managers typically have the authority to: 

In a typical property management contract, the property owner gives the property manager the right and authority to conduct eviction proceedings without consulting the property owner. This, however, can vary depending on the contract and property location. Property managers are typically paid a percentage of the revenue generated from the rental property, plus additional fees for acts such as evictions. Some property managers may live on the property and receive compensation by way of free or reduced rent.

How do property managers get authority to act on behalf of property owners?

The property manager's authority is given to them by the contract between the property manager and the property owner. This contract is called the Property Management Agreement. The Property Management Agreement may be structured to convey the maximum authority to act on the owner's behalf.

The purpose of the agreement is to free property owners from the day-to-day responsibilities of acting as a landlord. Property managers may consolidate services, saving property owners both time and money.

When property managers take on the roles typically reserved for property owners, the courts may hold them accountable for errors and indiscretions, even when those actions were at the direction of the owner. Both property managers and property owners should consult with a knowledgeable lawyer in their state to fully understand the terms and conditions of the Property Management Agreement. Rocket Lawyer Property Management Agreements come with the option to have an attorney review the agreement and answer questions.

How does a property manager evict a tenant?

The first step before initiating an eviction is to become familiar with the eviction laws in your state. The next step is to determine the grounds for the eviction. A thorough review of the Lease Agreement may identify clear violations. Common violations resulting in eviction include:

  • Failure to pay rent.
  • History of late rental payments.
  • Disrupting the use and enjoyment rights of other tenants.
  • Property damage.

Property managers can document evidence of all violations. The evidence may be needed in court, so it is essential to be thorough. Evidence can include:

  • Notice of late payments.
  • Photos of damage.
  • Copies of email correspondence.
  • Copies of bounced checks.
  • Documented complaints by other tenants.

The property manager can then draft an Eviction Notice. The purpose of the Eviction Notice is to inform the tenant of the intent to evict them from the premises. Depending on the laws in your state, you may have to give them a set time period to remedy the violation or vacate the property.

If the tenant does not remedy or fix the violation by the deadline in the Eviction Notice, the next step is to file an eviction, or unlawful detainer, lawsuit in the proper court. Property managers will be required to prove that the tenant had the legal amount of time to respond to the notice and did not. A certified mail receipt or certification from a process server may fulfill this requirement, if allowed by state and local law, by establishing when the tenant received the notice. When the eviction lawsuit is filed with the court, a court date will be set.

If you have specific questions about property managers and the eviction process, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer On Call® attorney for affordable answers and advice.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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