How Can I Evict a Tenant?
It’s one of a landlords worst nightmares, evicting a tenant. If it’s your first time going through a tenant eviction, there are so many questions you need answered, yet it’s tough to find those answers.
You know what you want, to get the tenant out of your property and to get paid for any damages and outstanding rent, but you can’t always get all of this.
So, what are your options?
Evicting Tenants In Alberta
14 Day Eviction Notices
Where to begin? Many landlords believe they need to provide tenants with an eviction notice to get them out of their property. While using eviction notices is one way to kick tenants out of your property, it’s not always effective.
Sometimes tenants don’t leave by the date specified in the eviction notice, sometimes they dispute the eviction and occasionally it just gives especially vindictive tenants more time to cause damage to the property. Also a standard eviction notice in Alberta is 14 days and requires an extra day on either side of the 14 days for the tenant to receive the notice and to move out.
That’s 16 days that you are unlikely to be able to collect any rent for, especially if that is why you are kicking the tenants out of your property and 16 days for you to sit idly by, wondering if they will leave. Trust me those can be stressful days.
That’s why if I’m serious about evicting a tenant, I rarely use an eviction notice. I typically only use them now to establish a history of late payments and to protect myself if I have to move forward. Eviction notices are not mandatory to evict a tenant, they are just one method that seems to be most familiar to landlords.
Using The RTDRS And The Courts For Evictions
Depending on where you live in the province you have one or two legal options to help you with an eviction. If you are evicting a tenant in the Calgary or Edmonton area, or the Fort MacMurray or Central Alberta regions you have two options. Either the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (also known as the RTDRS because it’s to hard to remember what RTDRS stands for) or the provincial court system.
If you’re evicting tenants in Medicine Hat or Lethbridge in southern Alberta , or many of the rural areas, you may be restricted to just the court system. The RTDRS has a handy utility on their main page to help you determine if you are in an area serviced by the RTDRS, here’s a link to it Availability of the RTDRS Service.
Both of these options require you filing an eviction application and scheduling a hearing for the eviction. I’ve become very familiar with the RTDRS process and I find it typically quite quick and easy to deal with (after having gone through it multiple times, the first is the worst). I’ve never personally represented myself through the court system for an eviction, so while I have a good idea of everything, it is not from personal experience.
Which Eviction System Is Better?
The people I have talked with over the years sit on either side of the fence, some absolutely love the RTDRS and find it the most effective way to deal with 90% of all tenant problems (I’m one of these people). Others find the court system to be more straight forward and effective and can actually deal with 100% of the issues out there.
The reason for the 10% shortfall with the RTDRS, in case you are wondering, is in particularly difficult situations the hearing officers in the RTDRS will defer the cases to the court system. While the hearing officers used by the RTDRS have the capacity to make rulings that are legal and binding, they don’t have quite the same capacity as actual judges found in the courts. Due to this, and rather than making a legal error, some cases get delayed and pushed to the court system.
Where the RTDRS Doesn’t Work
So what would that 10% shortfall where the RTDRS may not be enough cover? These are often cases where tenants have a significant knowledge advantage over the landlords and use legal maneuvering to delay evictions, extend timelines and often provoke landlords to make errors in their evictions or even break the Landlord Tenant bylaws.
These are what I refer to as professional tenants. Tenants who use the system to get months of free rent from landlords who are often too trusting initially and don’t realize their mistake until it’s too late. Too late and extremely costly.
Sometimes they are cases where there are multiple complications that overlap and require more sophisticated understandings of the Residential Tenancy Law and how it applies and sometimes it occurs when there is no definitive solution. Situations like these can simply call for more official rulings and require the judges decision.
Now this isn’t meant to scare you away from the RTDRS, I still think it is the best way to evict tenants for myself and people I advise and consult with. It’s just meant to tell you how important it is to know what you are doing. No matter which route you take, properly preparing and gathering all the information (plus understanding the rules), make the biggest impact.
Walking into either type of hearing demanding a tenant leave without providing documentation, backup and an understanding of the process will result in a disappointed landlord. Make sure that disappointed landlord isn’t you and make sure you prepare. The downside of this may be you don’t have the knowledge or the time for this, or you may have concerns about confronting the tenant in a hearing. This is where an Eviction Services company comes into play.
Hiring An Eviction Services Company
Most landlords out there already have a full time job and find the regular duties of being a landlord taxing. Being required to fill out the application for an eviction, preparing all the accompanying documentation, making multiple trips to file at the hearing offices or the courthouses along with serving the tenants and then taking additional time off from work to attend the hearing(s) can often seem like it’s not worth it. But how do you get control of your property back?
This is where the service of an eviction company can help you. Depending on your needs they can be a full service company and handle everything from the very beginning, or they can assist you on the back end once you have a court ordered eviction date and you only need the final bailiff services to have tenants removed. Many even offer the basic services of simply serving the tenants with any applications or court hearings for you. Of course all of this is at a cost.
Depending on your situation though, this cost could easily be well worth it. When you factor in taking a couple days of work off (or more), the stress you would go through yourself if you did the eviction, the lost rent you may already be missing and the chance you may make a mistake granting the tenant an even longer rent free stay, having someone else handle all of this may pay for itself.
Costs and Caveats When Using an Eviction Service
So how much could this cost you? This can vary depending on the circumstance, so let’s start with your options.
- If you go through the eviction process yourself and use the RTDRS, your costs for the hearing are $75.
- If you go through the courts yourself, your costs for the hearing are $100.
- Typical costs for an eviction service company will start at around $700-800 and move up from there depending on the situation and whether the company uses the court system or the RTDRS for their eviction services.
The caveats of this is these prices are typically starting prices and if you haven’t started the process already. If you’ve started the eviction, made some stumbles along the way and now hand it over to and eviction company, they may not want to take the case, or the costs may be more.
This could be compared to you starting to build a fence at your property, you get half way through and discover it’s crooked, the posts aren’t spaced correctly and it’s not the right height. The contractor you bring in now not only has to build the fence, but they have to take everything down you started with and may even need to refill holes.
This is the same situation you may put an eviction company in, if you start on your own and get in over your head. They may have to tear everything down, fill in your holes and rebuild your fence/case and if you’ve made significant errors, this can be time consuming and costly. This is why some companies won’t even take files that have been started, so you need to take this into account before you start your eviction.
Your efforts to save money, much like building your own fence without the right tools and knowledge, can end up costing you much more.
Questions To Ask Yourself When Starting An Eviction
Are you comfortable enough to appear in a hearing on your own? Are you knowledgeable enough to make a valid rational argument for your eviction? Have you prepared enough evidence that the tenant is breaching the lease that you can make the eviction stick? Have you bought my How To Evict Tenants Using the RTDRS Guide to make sure you understand the process (sorry had to plug my guide!). And finally do you have the time to file and attend one or two hearings?
If you answered yes to all of these questions then you should probably go through the process yourself. If you answered no to several of these, especially the time part, then you need to hire an eviction service company to handle your eviction.
Have you come to a decision on what to do next? Are you going to proceed on your own, or hire out? Are you going to start with an eviction notice or move directly to a hearing or court appearance? These can be some tough questions for you, but the important part with any eviction is taking action.
Unfortunately, the situation rarely gets better if you wait. Sometimes the tenants just leave, but more often than not they drag it out and the tighter the rental market, the longer they will drag it out as getting evicted now turns into survival mode for them.
Now I’ve covered a lot of ground in this article, but there may still be questions you have, so here are some options.
If you’re still in your research stage, want more information and want to read some more articles on this site that may answer many of your eviction questions, go take a look at my
This directs you to my most popular articles on eviction notices,
info about the RTDRS, steps in the eviction process and more.
If you want to start with an eviction notice as you expect that will be enough to get your tenants to move on, or you want to use it as a start in case you don’t think a hearing is necessary yet, make sure you have an eviction form with all the correct information on it. There are multiple free eviction notices floating around the internet, but the majority of them are missing important clauses that are required in Eviction forms used in Alberta or they are invalid.
I’ve put together a package that includes both 14 day and 24 hour eviction notices that includes information on how and when to use them, has examples of completed forms and includes blank forms that you can use over and over. I’ve currently reduced the price of the package to $9.97 from $19.97, so take advantage of this before I change it back. You can find more information here,
If you are ready to take action and want to start down the path of using the RTDRS to evict your tenant, I have put together another package that walks you through all the steps of using the RTDRS including what to expect and provides extra tips I use to make sure my eviction goes through. People who have purchased it have told me it takes away all the confusion and makes the eviction much easier. You can get more information or order it here,
This guide also includes the 14 day and 24 hour eviction forms with it.
After reading through all of this you may have decided it will be far easier on you to simply hire someone else to evict your tenant. For my very first eviction and before the RTDRS was introduced this is the route I took as well.
I’ve compiled a short list of Eviction Service Companies in Alberta. The companies listed on this page are companies that I have either dealt with or worked with to gather the information on this site and for my informational videos. Please be sure to read the disclaimer at the bottom of the listing page before hiring any eviction service company to represent you,
Finally, I’ve also put together a quick report that walks you through the basic steps involved in an eviction. You can grab it at no charge by entering your name and email address in the box either at the top right of this page or near the bottom of the page.
Once you fill in the information and send it off to me you’ll get access to the free report along with some additional tips that many landlords and tenants find helpful about evictions.
Hopefully you found this eviction information to be a great resource and if so, I’d appreciate if you share it with your friends however possible, we have Social Media sharing buttons located just below to assist you, or come visit us on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/AlbertaEviction.
If you have additional questions please leave them as a comment below and I will try to answer them as quickly as possible. If you require slightly more guidance in-depth eviction consulting , I do offer eviction consulting services, but I do not provide the actual full eviction service the eviction companies provide. For more information about my services and costs, click the following link, Alberta Eviction Consulting Services.
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