Protections for Landlords in an Eviction Case

A recent WBUR article discusses the lengthy (and often expensive) process landlords must go through to evict a tenant. Unfortunately, this story is not unusual: I have seen many landlords spend considerable time in the eviction process due to some tenants’ endless delay tactics.

Such a process always begs the inevitable question from my clients: what can a landlord due to protect themselves during the eviction process? Here, I will discuss some things that can be done to protect landlords during these cases.

Hire a Lawyer

It may seem obvious, but one of the most important protections for landlords is hiring a competent landlord-tenant attorney for an eviction. Landlords who are limited liability companies, corporations, or trusts must be represented by a lawyer in court. An individual landlord may do an eviction on their own, but the court rules, procedures, and many traps for the unwary make the process difficult to navigate. Landlords should consider hiring a lawyer when evicting a tenant.

Request A Court Order for Rent Payments

Unfortunately, some tenants in an eviction stop paying their landlord rent. What can a landlord do about this? Request a court order for rent payments. In various circumstances, a court can order a tenant to pay rent while an eviction is ongoing.

These rent orders are not perfect protections for landlords in eviction cases. Tenants are still entitled to have their cases heard by a court, and while failure to pay rent may expedite the process, it will not (on its own) win a landlord an eviction case. Nonetheless, a rent order can help a landlord alleviate some of the financial loss during the eviction process.

Equitable Relief

Courts have broad authority to order someone to do (or not do) something, known as “equitable relief.” Examples of this include:

  • Preventing a tenant from damaging a rental property
  • Allowing a landlord to access rental property for needed repairs or inspection
  • Preventing unauthorized persons from living in a rental apartment

Equitable relief is one of the most important protections for landlords during eviction. If a landlord has reason to believe that a tenant is causing a serious problem, they can ask the court for an order addressing the matter while the eviction is ongoing.

As the old saying goes, “what is good for the goose is good for the gander.” Tenants can also request equitable relief from a court if a landlord is not addressing a state sanitary code matter or is disturbing the tenancy.

Final Thoughts

Protections for landlords in evictions exist, and should be used when needed. If you are involved in an eviction, work with an experienced attorney to get you through the process as expeditiously as possible.