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Tuesday, June 5,2012

Legal Insight

By Scott J. Topolski  


Q: I own a small apartment building with four apart-ments.

One of my tenants is habitually behind in his rent, but the situation has become particularly troublesome over the course of the last several months. He now owes three months of rent and is ignoring my phone calls. I suspect I will not be receiving the rent owed to me. I really cannot afford to have a tenant who fails to pay rent. What do I need to do to evict him from his apartment so that I can, hopefully, rent that apartment to someone who will timely pay the rent?

A: The process is fairly simple. You have to serve the tenant with what is known as three-day notice, describing how much is owed and demanding either payment of that amount or possession of the apartment within three days. The notice must indicate to whom possession or payment is to be delivered. I would strongly recommend having the notice personally served on the tenant, preferably by a process server who would be able to provide an affidavit of service, if necessary, in the event you need to file a complaint for eviction and the tenant then challenges the three-day notice. If you simply mail that notice, arguably, you will need to provide the tenant with more than three days’ notice to either pay the amount owed or surrender possession of the apartment. If the tenant fails to respond to the three-day notice. You will then want to prepare and file an eviction complaint. If the tenant does not respond to the eviction complaint, you can obtain a judgment for possession of the apartment and thereafter arrange with the sheriff to have the tenant locked out.


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