How to Evict a Tenant in Puerto Rico
Many landlords who have received late rent payments or observed their tenants breaching a lease need to know how to evict a tenant in PR. Knowing how to evict a tenant in Puerto Rico is critical for all landlords so that they can protect their rights to their property. This guide will teach you how to evict a tenant in PR properly so that you are not taken advantage of by a tenant or fined by the courts. For more information on how to evict a tenant in Puerto Rico, you may want to talk to a landlord tenant attorney.
Step 1: Provide Notice if Required
The first step in how to evict a tenant in PR legally is to check the lease documents that you and your tenant signed before the tenant moved in. If notice is required by your lease, you will need to give your tenant the appropriate notice before filing any eviction lawsuit in court. Not all lease agreements will require notice. Generally, you will have to be able to provide proof that your tenant is violating the lease in a material way in order to begin eviction proceedings. Damage to a unit is not considered a cause for eviction unless the damage goes beyond normal wear and tear.
Step 2: File a Lawsuit
Some landlords who do not know how to evict a tenant in Puerto Rico assume that they can simply change the tenant's locks, throw the tenant's belongings out of the unit, or turn off the tenant's electricity, water, or other utilities. These steps are considered “self help” methods, and are illegal. The only legal answer to the question of how to evict a tenant in PR is to go through the court system.
If you go to your local courthouse and ask how to evict a tenant in Puerto Rico, you will be directed to the forms that can help you to file a lawsuit. Alternately, you may wish to talk to an attorney who can tell you how to evict a tenant in PR in more detail, and who may be able to file all court paperwork for you.
Step 3: Eviction Hearing
Your tenant will be provided with notice of his or her eviction hearing by the courthouse or through a private process server. If you do not know how to evict a tenant in Puerto Rico, having the assistance of an attorney at the hearing may be useful. Many tenants will simply vacate the premises once they receive an eviction notice, but if you must attend the hearing, you will need to show that your tenant violated his or her lease.
Tenants may be able to show that your obligations as a landlord were not being met, and this will often lead to the judge ruling in favor of tenants. It is important to have an attorney who understands how to evict a tenant in PR even if the tenant fights the eviction.
Step 4: Removal
Only after these other steps have been followed can a landlord have a tenant legally evicted. Once the eviction hearing is over, if the court rules in the landlord's favor, the tenant will be served with papers that indicate when they must leave by. If the tenant has not vacated the premises, they may be removed forcibly and can be arrested for trespassing on the landlord's property if they refuse to leave.