Cash for Keys: Paying Tenants to Leave

Cash for Keys: Paying Tenants to LeaveIf you’re a landlord, you most likely hope that you’ll never have to evict anyone. Hopefully, all your tenants will be on-time paying clients, and you’ll have no issues. However, should you get into a spot where you’re considering evicting a tenant, Cash for Keys is something you may be interested in using to get the tenant out quickly.

What is Cash for Keys?

Essentially, Cash for Keys is when a landlord gives a tenant money to vacate the property, rather than take them to court to evict them. You may wonder why in the world you would give your tenant money to leave when they owe you money. Let’s look at some of the specifics of the Cash for Keys strategy.

Being able to evict a tenant is a great way to get them out of your unit, but often it takes a month or so to get them out. Sometimes it can take months before the tenant must leave the unit. Many landlords end up paying a good bit of money for an attorney and court costs. These costs, along with lost rent, can add up to the thousands quickly – not to mention dealing with a tenant who can become ornery when facing eviction.

But what if you could simply offer your tenant $500 upfront to vacate the property? You provide them the cash incentive to leave quickly and leave the unit in good condition. That’s precisely what Cash for Keys is all about.

Tips for Using Cash for Keys

You can give as little or as much cash as you feel necessary to get your tenant out. Usually, somewhere around $500 will be enough incentive to make them leave, especially if they’re behind on rent and looking at having to go through the eviction process. If using Cash for Keys is something you may be interested, here are several tips to consider:

1.  Give Your Tenant the Details

Be clear in what you expect from your tenant. Explain the process of Cash for Keys and let them know that they must leave the unit in good condition upon exiting. Let them know if they damaged the home before leaving; they’ll be responsible for the costs to repair the damages.

2.  Be Specific About Move Out Date

Let the tenants know the exact date they must be moved out. Many landlords want a quick exit, so they give the tenants 5-7 days to out of the home. The Cash for Keys strategy is to get the tenants out fast.

3.  Inspect Unit Upon Tenant’s Leaving

Meet with the tenant and inspect the property when they are ready to leave. Consider taking someone with you for safety issues. If the unit has not been cleaned, tell them you’ll give them a few hours to clean it and then return. Never give them the cash without them holding up their end of the bargain.

4.  Have them Sign the Paperwork

Create a document that the tenant can sign that relinquishes their tenancy. This acts as protection for you should they try to get back into the property once you change the locks.

5.  Hand them a “Pay or Vacate” Notice.

Just in case the tenants end up not leaving, hand them a “pay or vacate” notice, as this is usually the first step in an eviction. Should they not move using the Cash for Keys incentive, you’ll already have given them the notice.

6.  Hand them the Cash

If the tenants indeed leave the home and leave it in good condition, hand them over the cash. Also, change the locks ASAP.

Cash for Keys is a viable solution for landlords who want to skip the eviction process and undue fees that could come along with an eviction. Granted, some tenants might not want to be a part of the process, and that’s alright. Other tenants will be happy to have the cash to use on another property. The strategy is only one alternative to eviction, so use it if you feel led or start the eviction process if you desire.

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