If your tenant does not pay the rent, you will have to evict him or her. Eviction laws vary widely from state to state.
In some states, eviction is a fairly speedy process that can be completed in about three weeks. In other states, especially if the tenants are experienced, they can prevent eviction for many months and even up to a year. Some states require the tenants to pay their monthly rent to the court in the meantime, until the disputes are resolved. Others do not.
You can minimize the likelihood of this kind of a problem if you keep excellent written records and if you keep all your commitments. Tenants who stall evictions for many months are able to do so because they make claims against their landlord. You might hear, “My landlord didn’t fix the dripping faucet when he promised, and I couldn’t sleep for weeks, and that caused me to lose my job, so my whole ruined life is the landlord’s fault.” Unfortunately, in an eviction situation, these types of accusations are not at all uncommon. Keep a journal for your rental house matters. Note all conversations with your tenant, including the date and approximate time. Include any complaints and promises by the tenant, and any responses and promises by you. Keep all of your promises exactly on time, and note the completion of them in your journal, as well. Make sure to follow up all conversations with a note or email confirming what you spoke about, and keep copies of all of these papers.
If there is a meltdown with your tenant and you end up in court, your journal might become valuable evidence. If it does become evidence, though, remember that it will be readable by everyone. This means that you should not vent your frustrations by calling your tenant names in the journal.