How to Evict a Tenant in Kansas City KC-K/KC-MO | Property Management Education
Tom Sedlack - Wednesday, January 25, 2017
In Kansas City (KC), you need to be aware of which state you’re in when evicting a tenant, because the laws are different in each state. In general, the process is similar. The first thing you must remember when you’re considering an eviction is that bad tenancy, whether in the form of late payments or no payments or something else is not like fine wine. It doesn’t get better with age, so rip the band-aid off and find yourself a new tenant who is better. You can do a better job of screening and ensuring you have responsible people moving into your home. Trying to limp along with a bad tenant is never a good idea and will probably cause more damage to property and cash flow than simply moving forward briskly.
Reasons to Evict
If there’s a tenant holdover who has gone beyond the end date of a lease, you can evict. Non-payment of rent is a major reason to evict, and you can also take this step when there are damages or lease violations. Make sure your lease language suggests certain things as material violations of the lease. Some judges will see damages as incidental and not material. For example, a pet that’s three pounds overweight would not be considered a material violation and a reason to evict. The lease language can help you with the statutory obligations of the tenant. Drug use and illegal activities and other crimes are always reasons to evict. All states including Kansas and Missouri are sympathetic to landlords in these situations.
Send an Eviction Notice
Send a notice to the tenant so you can explain what’s going on and that you are notifying them to vacate immediately for eviction. Document this notice and its service. Use a third-party process server or send it via certified mail. For holdovers, in Missouri the statute is a 30 day notice to vacate, and then you have to go through the courts. The court filing does require an affidavit. When you fill out the eviction paperwork, make sure all the documents you used for service and notice are done correctly.
Most judges and statutes are more favorable to tenants when it comes to late payments. As long as a tenant makes good before the eviction hearing, they are generally allowed to restore themselves to the terms of the overall lease and bring themselves into compliance. So, be aware of this. Just because they are one day late, you won’t necessarily be able to evict for convenience. The tenants will be allowed to cure and mitigate the situation.
Once you have an issue and you are filing, you’ll hear the term unlawful detainer, which is an eviction. This notifies the tenant that they are being evicted and they are remaining in the property unlawfully. To serve this to the tenant, you’ll fill out the appropriate paperwork and have a process server deliver it. Typically, the court dates are quick. You can usually get a court date in 21 days or less in Kansas and Missouri. Earlier in the month, you’re better off. So, try to get your filing in early instead of waiting until the end of the month. A disciplined process that has already been communicated to the tenant helps. A structured process will ensure you aren’t waiting for false promises from a tenant. You’re following your process and if your tenant doesn’t follow the payment plan or the agreement, it automatically goes to the eviction process.
Going to Court
Once you do go to court, you provide the documentation and demonstrate the default, and the judge will come up with a decision quickly. Typically, these hearings are the shortest hearings in the courtroom. It can take 30 seconds if the tenant doesn’t show up, otherwise it will last 15 or 20 minutes, maybe an hour if there’s a dispute. There’s no need to worry if you are going in with the facts. Once you get a judgment from the court, you’ll get a Writ of Execution. In Missouri, there is a delay. Once there is a judgement, the tenant has 10 days to appeal, so the court will wait. As long as no appeal comes in, the court will issue the Writ of Execution. Then, the petition is taken to the sheriff’s office and the sheriff will process it and that could take another week. Usually, you’ll look at five to six weeks for the eviction process. That’s why you need discipline, and you don’t want to wait.
Hopefully, this is some helpful information on how evictions are processed. At 33rd Company, we work with experienced attorneys who know the court nuances in the areas where we work. Just remember that there is an urgency in pursuing this process, and you want to mitigate the vacancy and get it ready for a new tenant as soon as possible. Good screening and better screening is the best way to avoid evictions.
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