Evicting a tenant is not as simple as knocking on the door and telling him he’s got to pack up and go. There’s a process you must adhere to that will make the eviction both legal and necessary to be obeyed.
Given how messy the entire situation can get, we’ll list a few things to help you, landlord or tenant, to better understand the process and the expected outcomes.
This is the most logical and basic of things to do and yet you’ll be surprised by how many landlords and tenants alike fail at establishing a legally binding relationship.
Having a contract protects the tenant from being bullied by the landlord and it protects the landlord from a tenant that refuses to follow the rules.
So the first thing you need to check is that you have a contract with a section that legally states your rights and what the processes are in the event of an eviction.
2) Eviction notice
If the tenant has defaulted numerous times on what was agreed upon in the contract/tenancy agreement, then the eviction notice can be issued in accordance with that same agreement.
It must however, include a grace period so the tenant can make plans to pack and leave and also to do an official handover of all the items included in the apartment and make full payment of overdue rent.
3) Eviction order
If the tenant refuses to move and remains in the apartment or premises after the notice date expires, then you, as the landlord, can file an eviction order in court against the tenant for the following:
- Outstanding rental
- Double rental (you can claim double rental if the tenant remains past the due date)
- Recovery of the premises and all possessions belonging to you therein
Be warned though that an eviction order could take anywhere from three to six months at the Sessions Court and would cost you RM7,000 to RM25,000.
Now, if the tenant decides to contest the summons, then the cost would be higher.
4) Self-help Measures
There are instances where the tenant, upon leaving the premises without informing the landlord, brings up charges of a civil suit against the landlord for breaking the lock.
This is a strange circumstance since the landlord, while clearly within his rights to repossess the apartment, is not allowed to break into his own apartment if the tenant left a lock on it.
In such cases, the tenant could have either forgotten, or did it out of spite.
If calling the tenant to unlock the apartment fails, the landlord must then lodge a police report and break the lock in the presence of a police officer and an independent witness to avoid such a law suit.
Upon entering the premises, the landlord should take as many photos of the interior and of all properties to protect himself from any false claims by the previous tenant on grounds of property abuse.
Next, place a notice on the door of the property informing the tenant to contact the landlord if they wish to collect their possessions. Include a photocopy of the police report also to show that the premises were entered legally and also as a deterrent for the tenant to make a frivolous report.
It is important to note that although the tenant was evicted, the landlord cannot legally remove their possessions without the tenant’s permission or they risk being embroiled in legal issues in court.
If such a situation arises, it is always best to lodge a police report first and seek legal assistance before reacting.
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