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How to Use Cash for Keys - Evict Your Tenant from Property Legally

Admin      December 13, 2022

Evicting a bad tenant is one of the most emotionally draining experiences. Telling them to leave the property can be understandably anxiety-inducing and nerve-wracking too. If the tenant is occupying your rental property without permission or has overstayed, the most commonly used and legal way to move them out is through the formal eviction process. 

Now, many other options make the process go more smoothly and get the job done without evicting your tenants. Offering incentives, or in other words, "cash for keys," is one such option that can help you save from a lengthy and hectic eviction process. 

If explained in simple terms, it is the strategy of giving money to the tenants to leave the property voluntarily. Though this is not the most appealing method for dealing with tenant turnover, it is unquestionably one of the most effective.This method has shown successful results and helps property owners save a good amount of money in the long run.

What Is a "Cash for Keys" Agreement?

A landlord (or a bank in a foreclosure scenario) may offer cash in return for the keys to a home to persuade a tenant to leave. "Cash for keys", though it might seem contradictory, is frequently less expensive than going through a drawn-out eviction procedure. Usually, there are conditions attached to the payment amount depending on how the property is left. 

When renters damage the home or can no longer afford the rent, "cash for keys" agreements are frequently used in the UK. In other cases, a landlord who just bought a new rental property in UK  and wants to get rid of the current renters may choose to do this.

The Most Common Reasons for Eviction

  • Antisocial conduct
  • Default on a contract
  • Damage or neglect
  • Providing misleading or inaccurate information
  • Rent defaults
  • Untimely rent payments

Without a possession order issued by a court, landlords cannot lawfully remove tenants from the property; failing to do so might result in you committing an illegal eviction offense. The tenant must be served with a notice that they must vacate the property by a certain date as the first stage in the eviction procedure. 

You may apply for a possession order if the tenants do not leave the property by this date and if a time extension was not provided for in the rental agreement. But sometimes, just giving renters a written warning or notice is enough to get them to leave without taking any other steps.

If you are someone who is interested in rental property investment, read this article for knowing proper tips while doing rental property investment.

Evict the Bad Tenants Using the "Cash for Keys" Method

Here is the full procedure that needs to be followed while opting for this method rather than the legal one:

  • Tell them about the facts and the specific date to vacate the property to rent

Giving your tenants a prior pay or vacate notice is typically the first step in this whole process. Discuss this with your tenant and tell them the exact reason why you want them to move out of your rental property in the UK. If they are not paying rent on time, give them a specific period to pay it in full. 

  • Properly inspect the property

This step holds great importance as it provides you with an idea of your property. Verify that your unit is properly cleaned, in good shape, and move-in-ready condition when your tenants leave it. Make sure that you offer the full amount to tenants only after they are out of the property and have handed over the keys.

  • Hand over the full cash

When the tenant has held up with his or her part of the process, give them the amount. Don't forget to do a thorough move-out inspection before returning the deposit to your tenants. Finally, immediately change the locks. 

While planning for this process, make sure to prepare a "cash for keys agreement" that specifies that the tenants understand that failure to fulfil it means they waive their right to a trial and are giving up possession of the property. This way, you can get a write of possession quickly in case they fail to move out after all. Try this efficient method of evicting unwanted tenants and save a lot of money and time.

Amounts in "Cash for Keys"

Naturally, the amount of the pay for keys agreement will depend on where you reside and the cost of living there. Additionally, make sure to verify any local or state rules that may apply. Typically, the sum is equal to either a full month's rent or half a month's rent plus a security deposit. Another choice is to state the court expenses that would have been incurred if an eviction notice had been issued; these costs normally range from $1,000 to $3,000.

How to Get Bad Tenants Out?

Here we have shared some useful ways you can use to evict your bad renters out of your property.

Eviction Procedure: If the situation cannot be resolved

The eviction procedure could occasionally be inevitable. It could be worth putting up with any behaviour that is typically inappropriate if a problematic tenant is nearing the end of their contract since it will mean less paperwork when you try to restore property ownership. You can evict early if that period is too long for you to wait. You have a choice, but no matter which way you go, you must follow a strict procedure.

Eviction after a Fixed-term Contract

Section 21 of the Housing Act of 1988 states that landlords have the right to reclaim ownership of their property after the predetermined period if they offer at least two months' notice. Landlords have the right to request a possession order or eviction warrant if renters do not leave the property by the deadline stated in the notification. Before taking any legal action, it is always best to talk to a lawyer who understands your situation.

Removal from a Fixed-term Rental

For a landlord to remove a tenant from their home during the length of the lease, there must be a good reason or a violation of the lease based on one of the reasons in Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1988.

How Can Bad Tenants Be Avoided in the Future?

You, like all landlords, understandably want to adamantly avoid this situation in the future after dealing with problematic renters in the past. Here are some pointers to prevent recurrences:

  • Make use of an property ad listing service like Without Estate Agency or a reputable tenant placement service
  • Verify the tenant's identity, legal documents, and proof of employment, if possible
  • Look into a tenant's renting history and request recommendations from prior property managers
  • Before finalising the lease agreement, meet the potential tenant
  • Make any unique tenancy requirements, such as yard upkeep

In conclusion, "cash for keys" agreements might be the ideal answer for landlords as well as renters who want cash but do not wish to go through the time-consuming and costly eviction procedure. Always verify your local and state regulations about your activity and make sure you follow the proper process. Always keep in mind that thorough tenant screening can help you prevent issues like "cash for keys" or evictions from the beginning. 

Contact Without Estate Agency to avoid bad tenants and to learn more about the screening process of tenants.  


  • What is a "cash for keys" agreement?

A "cash for keys" arrangement is one in which the landlord pays the renter a one-time sum of money in exchange for the tenant leaving the rental property. 

  • Is a "cash for keys" contract legitimate? 

The "Cash for keys" agreement is legal in all 50 states as long as you follow the right steps and find out what your local and state laws say about them. 

  • Is it wise to get into a "cash for keys" agreement? 

An eviction is a costly, drawn-out, and unpleasant legal process for both the landlord and the renter. A "cash for keys" arrangement is a great option. In addition, if a tenant is struggling to make ends meet, they are likely to embrace a "cash for keys" arrangement.


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