We all know that not paying rent results in eviction. As a renter and a property manager, I've witnessed some less-obvious warning signs that indicate an eviction is likely.
You might be headed for eviction if...
...you're struggling to pay other bills. In my experience, if you're struggling to pay your smaller housing bills, like your utilities or cable bills, you're at serious risk of an eviction. When you're barely making your bills on time, even a minor financial emergency can spell disaster. For example, a tenant of mine struggled but got by for several months. Then her car broke down. She needed the car to get to work, so she had to use her rent money to pay for the repairs. As a result, she didn't have the money to pay her rent when it came due. Her financial situation quickly spiraled out of control.
...you've broken the lease. Not paying your rent is one surefire way to get evicted, but many renters don't realize that smaller lease infractions can end up in an eviction. It all depends on your landlord and the relationship you have with him. Many landlords will let smaller things slide if you've been a great tenant who pays on time every month. If you've had a few late payments, tried to sneak in a pet, or irritated neighbors, your landlord may be looking for an opportunity to evict you. If you know your relationship isn't on the best of terms, do not break even the smallest rule in your lease.
...you're at the end of your lease and on rocky ground with the landlord. If your lease goes to a month-to-month basis, your landlord can likely end your tenancy at any time without a reason. Most landlords won't remove a tenant who pays on time, but if you've struggled in the past, the landlord probably won't be too inclined to keep you in the rental. If your relationship deteriorates further, she may decide to end the agreement. And while that won't hurt your future renting ability as much as a true eviction, it will feel like one and could affect future rental options if this landlord is ever contacted for a reference.
...your landlord's property goes into foreclosure. It depends on the laws in your state and the bank that holds your landlord's mortgage, but a foreclosure for your landlord usually means an eviction for you. And what's especially scary about this scenario is that you may not know about the foreclosure until you receive the eviction notice from the lender or courts. You can't do anything to prevent your landlord's financial problems, but you can avoid this by asking the right questions before you lease. If possible, try to lease from a landlord who owns his properties outright.