4 Landlord Tricks to Make a Tenant Want to Leave Your Apartment

This publication reveals how to make a tenant want to leave your apartment legally. No landlord wants to keep a bad tenant, and some tenants annoyingly try to game the system and remain in an apartment using the law’s provisions.

how to make a tenant want to leave


Note that ordinarily making a tenant want out is awfully close to self-help eviction, which is illegal.

Self-help eviction actions include turning off gas, water, and electricity, or changing the door locks to frustrate a tenant. Harassing a tenant is part of the list, especially if they have no violation. These are actions that will get you in trouble as a landlord.


How to make a tenant want to leave

Instead of self-help eviction, do the following to make your tenant want to leave on their own:

  1. Ask the tenant to leave

The best way is to ask the tenant to leave. Do not threaten, manipulate or use any other passive-aggressive approach.

If you can longer contend with the tenant, have a conversation with them. Explain how things are not working out and ask them to amicably exit from the lease.

If talking the tenant out of the apartment does not work, you have two options – negotiating an exit or spending time and money resources prying them out through the courts.


If the tenant is not in violation of any terms of the lease or rental agreement and is current with payments of rent payments for the duration of their tenancy, you cannot evict them in good standing. They would not want an eviction in their record or allow you to put them in a position to fake their rental history.

  1. Discuss a cash-for-keys deal

Employ a cash-for-keys program, which is similar to what financial institutions do on a foreclosed home.

For example, you can pay $300 for a mutual termination of the lease to get a tenant out within 2 weeks or as agreed. This method may be better than paying $1,000 or more to have an attorney go to court and obtain an eviction, which can take up to 30 days.

Getting an eviction may even cost you more since the annoyed tenant can damage your property. You may again decide to go back to court to chase for damages – more expenses.

A bad tenant would have clearly violated the lease, but instead of using your legal stance to terminate the lease and evict them, have an honest conversation with them to resolve the issues.

Read also: tricks people use to get a bad renting neighbor to move

Be polite in the conversation. The tenant may stop renting from you, and accept your cash-for-keys offer. You would also have your apartment with no damage beyond normal wear and tear.

Alongside the tenant, sign the mutual termination of the lease agreement and hand the tenant the check for the keys.

Change the locks and put up a “for rent” sign to have your apartment rented out to a well-screened renter at an even higher amount per month.

You may lose half of the rent and the amount you paid for the keys but you should recoup the money within a few months.

Cash for keys also helps you avoid at least twice the amount in legal fees and lost rent, including the possibility of property damage by the pissed tenant.

Using the carrot and the stick theory typically saves you lots of money, time, and hassle. Ensure not to give the tenant a cent until they execute the agreement and exit the property. Do not also put the tenant in a difficult situation where they have to get past a bad reference you make about them.

It may not be fair or right to pay a tenant who is not complying with your lease or whom you can no longer contend with. But put your emotions aside and run your apartment like a business. You need to take the path that reduces stress, time, and costs.

  1. Tell them the consequences of eviction

If the tenant turns down negotiations to exit the lease, then the legal eviction process is your go-to solution.

Give the tenant a final offer of paying them to leave. If they refuse, give the money to a lawyer.

Explain to the tenant that an eviction will not only stop them from receiving the cash from your offer but will also add an eviction on their record, and they may never find a place to live. This is not a threat but a fact.

If the tenant will not budge, do not deal with them because the courts have the standard eviction process.

  1. File eviction ASAP

How do you ask a tenant to leave nicely

Filing an eviction is a legal way to make a tenant leave. Do the following:

  • Serve a termination notice. You cannot begin an eviction lawsuit without first terminating the tenancy. A landlord can legally terminate a tenancy by giving the tenant written notice, as specified in the termination statute of the state.
  • File an eviction lawsuit. File eviction at the local court and pay the sheriff or court officer fee to deliver eviction or follow the method for your county or state law. Have copies of the eviction for your records. Take note of the dates, times, and communication made with the evictee.
  • Wait for the tenant to respond. The evictee or tenant you want to leave can respond to the complaint within the time specified on the summons. The tenant may deny your allegations or even submit a defense. For instance, a tenant can say, “The eviction is a retaliatory eviction,” or that the rent was used for necessary repairs the landlord refused to make.
  • Wait for the court. Wait until court for eviction occurs. When the tenant you want out shows up, be clear on any verbal agreements, and present payment receipts, “failure to pay” notices and eviction notices given to terminate the agreement and evict.
  • Kick the tenant out. A landlord is entitled to repossess the property but you need the assistance of a law enforcement officer – a marshal or a sheriff. They will notify the tenant of the lawful eviction and specify days for the tenant to move. If the tenant does not vacate the property within the specified time, the law enforcement officials may physically remove them.

The problems of verbal lease

It is not okay not to give a proper lease. However, if the judge believes that the terms and conditions in the verbal agreement between you and the tenant are understood, they will ensure the eviction and give the tenant the number of days required by law to move.

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If the judge thinks there is something fishy about the eviction, they can terminate it and make you file it again. The tenant you want to leave will then become an occupant for the file and court date and time until the next court date.

You can avoid the hassles by ensuring to write a proper law-abiding and compliant lease. Always maintain documented communication, including email or written notices explaining the cause of eviction.

Agreeing or not does not matter. If you can prove that you have proper control, the judge will give you a stay of eviction.

If you flimflam or look like you will accept any rent, you could be in a contract every time you accept money. The tenant can lie, claiming they paid you because you did not issue receipts, and the judge will not also accept your verbal anymore.

The sooner you initiate eviction, the sooner the tenant leaves.

Final thoughts

Renting an apartment is challenging if you do not consider the possibilities of good and bad circumstances.

Avoid painful mistakes, such as not signing a contract, and clearly explain and uphold the rules. For instance, “no smoking on the property” is not different from “no smoking in the room”. Thus, a tenant who is caught smoking is in the room should be warned or evicted.

Eviction should be for any violated part of the lease. If you say “no pets” such as small caged animals like pet rats, you cannot overlook a tenant hiding a rat, unless you received a pet deposit for it. If you follow the rules, the judge will give you a good judgment.

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