As a landlord, you have to work with your tenants to the best of your ability. However, there can still come a point where collaboration and empathy may not be enough to make a relationship work. In these cases, you may choose to pursue a tenant’s eviction. How much does an eviction cost? Even though this process works to your benefit, it is not cheap. You’ll want to calculate your potential cost of eviction before starting the process off, just to get an idea of how much of your budget you’re putting on the line.
Cost of Eviction Breakdown
The process of evicting a tenant takes time and is generally multi-faceted. With that in mind, related expenses can come from all angles. Some of the most common include:
It’s often in your best interest to hire an attorney to help you through the eviction process. To evict a tenant, after all, you have to submit a significant amount of paperwork. There is even a chance that you may have to defend your decision before a standing court.
An attorney, above all else, makes the process of submitting specific paperwork by court-approved deadlines. Failing to get your paperwork in within a reasonable amount of time or making errors on your paperwork can make the eviction process much longer and more expensive than it needs to be.
Each state charges you a fee when you file a claim with their courts. Contested evictions may result in court time, meaning that you will have to front the charge for the case at hand. Beyond just representation by an attorney, additional legal costs can include an expert witness’s testimony and discovery work done by a private investigator.
When you evict a tenant, you almost immediately start losing some of your rent revenue. The longer you have to keep that tenant’s lot off the market, the more rent you’re going to lose.
While you may be able to back-charge an evicted tenant after the eviction process comes to a close, there’s no guarantee that you will receive this money. The longer the court process goes on for, then, the more money you risk losing. When you factor that loss into the overall cost of the eviction, your pocketbook can start to look a little thin.
Even after you manage to remove a tenant from your property, that tenant can still cost you money. When you re-list the lot in question, for example, you can expect to lose a certain amount of money on advertising and management fees. If your tenant covered HOA expenses with their rent, you’d also lose income by footing those costs yourself.
The reasons you have for evicting a tenant can vary. But there’s a chance that a tenant may have damaged some of the property in their unit before you were able to remove them. In these cases, you’ll need to reinvigorate your damaged lot before putting it back on the market.
While the tenant’s security deposit can make this cost a little simpler to bear, there may still be expenses that fall outside of what that deposit can cover. While these costs tend to fall in line with general property maintenance, you may still factor them into your eviction losses, considering the extent of the damage and its relation to your departed tenant.
Exploring Eviction Alternatives
Because the cost of the eviction process can grow untenable, you may want to consider the alternatives you have on the table. One of the simplest ways to ease your way around an eviction is to hire a mediator. A mediator can communicate with your tenant for you and ensure that your conversations are productive.
Other eviction alternatives include:
- Payment arrangements to ease rent payments
- Arrange a binding arbitration
- Establishing a non-renewing lease agreement
- Denial of lease renewal (depending on local and state laws)
- “Cash for keys” arrangements
When in doubt, sit down with a property attorney to discuss what legal, non-eviction options may best help you contend with a troublesome tenant.
Protecting Your Property From Financial Loss
The eviction process doesn’t spell the end of the world for your budget. That said, it isn’t as landlord-friendly as pop culture would have you believe. You will have to portion off a percentage of your budget to make the eviction process more financially tenable.
When you calculate eviction costs ahead of time, you give yourself more time to think about your budget. You can also use this time to explore alternative solutions that may make it easier for you to both retain your budget and better communicate with the tenant in question.