Do you need to get a tenant who is renting month-to-month out of your property?
If so, then you’re probably frustrated and anxiously wondering how you can ask them to move out.
After all, the formal process of evicting a tenant can be lengthy (it can take months!) and expensive, so you should try to avoid it when possible.
However, getting a tenant to move out voluntarily is sometimes easier said than done.
Your tenant may have kids, pets, or certain limitations that can make the process of moving out even more difficult, but luckily there are a few strategies you can use to get your tenant to hand over the keys.
Send a written notice to move out to your tenant.
In Maryland, when a tenant rents on a month-to-month basis, you can usually give them a notice to vacate at any time as long as you give them one month to do so (with property management in Montgomery County and Baltimore City, you are required to provide a two-month notice to certain tenants).
You do not have to provide a reason for asking them to vacate on your notice, but keep in mind that asking a tenant to leave as a retaliatory or discriminatory move is illegal.
Here’s what your written notice to vacate should typically include:
- The date of the notice
- Your name and address and your tenant’s name and address (be sure to include the apartment/unit number if applicable)
- A specific statement of the date you expect the tenant to move out (for clarity, you can state both the number of days they have to move out and the date they are required to leave the premises)
- A specific statement that says they are required to remove all of their possessions from the property
- Information about deposits, cleaning fees, the move-out inspection, etc.
- Instructions for returning the keys to you (make it clear that your tenant needs to return the keys on the date that they vacate your property if that’s what you’d like them to do)
- Your signature
If you’d like, you can also include the reason for the request, but it isn’t absolutely necessary. Keep in mind that you may be able to provide a notice of less than 30 days if your tenant:
- Fails to pay rent
- Violates terms of the rental agreement
- Violates responsibilities imposed by the law
Be sure to check the laws in your area for more information on what exactly you can do to get your tenant out of your property.
What if the tenant still won’t move out?
Sometimes, tenants will remain in the property, even when you give them the proper notice to vacate.
This happens for a number of reasons, including the tenant simply not having enough money to pay rent and/or move into a new property.
If you are dealing with a stubborn tenant who is unwilling to move out and you are looking to avoid the eviction process, try working with them first.
Talk to them so you can figure out why they are unwilling to vacate the property. They may just need a bit of extra time to come up with the money to leave. After all, moving into a new place can be quite pricy – your tenant will likely need money for deposits and rent money at their new place and will probably also need a pay for a truck rental to move their possessions to the new location.
Of course, the tenant’s moving expenses are not your problem, but if you find out that the moving expenses are what’s keeping the tenant in your property, you may be able to offer the tenant cash when you ask them to move out as an incentive to follow through with it.
While it may seem like an extreme measure to offer cash to get a tenant to vacate when they should do so without any incentive in the first place, it does save you from the hassle of a formal eviction process.
Here’s the process for getting a tenant to move out by offering them cash:
- Firmly let the tenant know that they can no longer stay in your property.
- Explain to the tenant that you will be forced to file an eviction case if they do not move out, which will cause a huge hassle for them.
- Show your tenant that you are willing to work with him or her to avoid the formal eviction process. Offer to give them cash for moving out by a specified date (some tenants will move out for a couple hundred dollars, and others will only leave for over a thousand – do your best to determine what you should offer)
- If they agree to your terms, go to your property on the move-out date to inspect it thoroughly and pay the tenant the agreed-upon amount of money. You may even want to consider changing the locks when the tenant moves out.
Offering a cash incentive this way will often motivate your tenant to leave the property quickly so you can get it back on the market and find a better tenant.
When your tenant absolutely won’t leave, the formal eviction process is sometimes necessary.
As a landlord, you can legally evict a tenant for:
- Failing to pay rent
- Failing to move out at the end of the lease or on the specified date on a written notice
- Breaking your lease
If one of these reasons applies to your situation, you can begin the eviction process by going to the district court to get a judgment against your tenant.
If the eviction process is successful, the court will issue an order of eviction and a sheriff will make the tenant leave the home.
Evicting a tenant can be frustrating, but remember, you cannot legally move a tenant’s possessions out of the property or change the locks/cut off utilities while a tenant lives in your property unless you have a court order.
Here at Bay Property Management Group, our Montgomery County property management services help ensure that only top-quality tenants are placed into your property because we have a rigorous screening process.
In fact, less than 1% of the tenants we place end up getting evicted.
We’re so confident in our ability to place tenants that we offer a 12-month tenant warranty – if we place a tenant in your property and they are evicted in the first year, we will re-lease the property for you for free. You won’t find that kind of service anywhere else!
So, if you’re interested in attracting high-quality tenants to your property, contact us today!