Evicting a Tenant with Mental Health Problems: Understanding Your Legal Obligations

Deborah C. Escalante

Evicting a Tenant with Mental Health Problems: Understanding Your Legal Obligations
Evicting a Tenant with Mental Health Problems: Understanding Your Legal Obligations

As a landlord, evicting a tenant can be a difficult and stressful experience. When a tenant has a mental health problem, it can make the situation even more challenging. As a responsible landlord, it’s important to understand your legal obligations when it comes to evicting a tenant with mental health problems.

Understanding Mental Health Problems

Before we delve into the legal obligations of evicting a tenant with mental health problems, let’s first understand what mental health problems are. Mental health problems are conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, or mood. These conditions can be severe and can affect a person’s ability to live, work, and interact with others.

Mental health problems can range from mild to severe and can include conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and more. These conditions can be unpredictable and can cause a person to act in ways that may be difficult for others to understand.

Your Legal Obligations

Evicting a tenant with mental health problems should be approached with caution and compassion. It’s important to understand that people with mental health problems are protected under the law and cannot be discriminated against. As a landlord, you have an obligation to provide reasonable accommodations to tenants with disabilities, including mental health problems.

Under the Fair Housing Act, it is illegal to discriminate against a tenant based on their disability. This means that you cannot evict a tenant with mental health problems simply because of their condition. You must provide reasonable accommodations to allow the tenant to live comfortably in your property.

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Reasonable accommodations can include modifications to the property, such as installing grab bars in the bathroom or making doorways wider to accommodate a wheelchair. It can also include allowing the tenant to have an emotional support animal, even if you have a no-pet policy.

Steps to Follow when Evicting a Tenant with Mental Health Problems

If you have a tenant with mental health problems who you feel needs to be evicted, there are certain steps you need to follow to ensure you are within your legal rights.

  1. Document any violations of the lease agreement by the tenant.
  2. Attempt to resolve the issue through communication and mediation before pursuing eviction.
  3. Provide written notice of the eviction to the tenant, stating the reason for the eviction and giving the tenant a certain amount of time to vacate the property.
  4. If the tenant does not vacate at the end of the notice period, you will need to file for eviction and attend a court hearing.
  5. At the court hearing, you will need to present evidence of the violations of the lease agreement and the attempts you made to resolve the issue before pursuing eviction.

It’s important to note that if the reason for the eviction is related to the tenant’s mental health problems, you will need to provide documentation of your attempts to provide reasonable accommodations to the tenant. If you cannot prove that you attempted to provide reasonable accommodations, your eviction case may be denied.

Conclusion

Evicting a tenant with mental health problems can be complex and challenging. As a landlord, it’s important to understand your legal obligations and approach the situation with compassion and care. Providing reasonable accommodations to tenants with disabilities, including mental health problems, is not only the law but is also the right thing to do.

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If you do need to evict a tenant with mental health problems, make sure to follow the proper legal procedures and provide documentation of your attempts to provide reasonable accommodations. With patience and care, you can navigate the legal process and find a solution that works for you and your tenants.

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