Having a problem tenant on your hands can be frustrating and even costly, but there are some things that a landlord can't do when attempting to evict someone. To make the eviction process go more smoothly for you, use this list to help steer you away from some of the eviction mistakes that can end up costing you time and money.

Not Giving Notice

You can't decide that a tenant needs to leave and force him or her out on the same day. Even the most badly behaved tenants have the right to be notified ahead of an eviction. This gives them time to find another place to live, and it also gives them the chance to correct the problem that caused you to issue the eviction notice in the first place. Laws about how many days' notice you must give vary from state to state, so make sure you are in compliance with all local laws and regulations before you serve notice.

Changing The Locks

Changing the locks on your rental property is not the same as evicting a tenant. As long as you have not gone through the formal process to evict someone, that tenant still has the legal right to be in the residence. Locking out or threatening to lock a tenant out could get you into legal hot water. You may be opening yourself up to a lawsuit by locking a tenant out, which could end up with you having to pay money to the tenant instead of the other way around.

Removing The Tenant's Belongings

Physically removing your tenant's belongings from the home is also known as performing a "self-help eviction." These types of evictions are illegal in most states, and the courts may look favorably on a tenant who has been illegally evicted from his or her home. Your tenant can even sue you for harassment, trespassing, assault or even the intentional infliction of emotional distress. To avoid losing a legal battle, be sure to follow the legal steps for evictions. Typically, it is the sheriff who enforces a writ of eviction, which means you don't have to confront your tenant during the actual eviction.

Evicting a tenant is a difficult decision you need to make based on your finances and the tenant's unique situation. If you've found that the situation is too much, whether it be from not receiving rent on time or having a tenant who damages your property, it is important to follow the legal process for evictions. For more information, contact a lawyer like Ward & Ketchersid PA.