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Evictions

What Is The Cost Of An Eviction?

February 21, 2023

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Ask any landlord, and they’ll tell you evictions are one of the biggest headaches of the job.  

Not only is the effort required taxing and mentally draining, but the financial burden is heavy. 

So, with that said, how much do evictions cost? 

Let’s break it down below. 

Cost Breakdown 

Serving and Filing Fees 

Serving a termination notice is part of the eviction process. You can do this yourself, but landlords typically prefer to have a public officer deliver it to ensure an external record of delivery. The cost for this is usually $30 to $150 based on location. 

After serving the eviction notice, you’ll need to file paperwork to keep the process going. Most court offices charge anywhere from $15 to $150 to file these papers. 

Legal Fees 

These fees are typically the highest cost associated with evicting a tenant. An eviction lawyer takes care of the paperwork needed and ensures you have a legal right to evict a tenant. 

Real estate lawyers usually charge per hour, but some charge a flat fee. The costs fluctuate based on how involved the eviction is and your location.  

If you only need a lawyer to prepare the paperwork for an eviction, you may want to look for a lawyer that offers a flat-rate package. These packages usually include the necessary documents and cover up to two court appearances. These packages often cost hundreds of dollars. You can expect to pay no less than $500 in legal fees for an uncontested eviction. 

Lawyers can be quite expensive, especially if the cast goes all the way to a contested hearing. And such a case could end up requiring you to pay thousands of dollars for the lawyer’s services. 

If you decide to hire a lawyer without a flat-rate package, understand their billable hourly rate beforehand and make sure it works for you. 

Court Costs 

You must pay court fees to file a claim. This is typically around $50. Then, if the tenant opposes the claim, court costs will increase substantially because you’ll probably spend more time in court. And, if the trial lasts for a while, you could spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars in court fees. 

Sheriff Costs 

Even if you win your eviction case, you’re not out of the woods yet. You still need to ensure the tenant leaves the premises. In a perfect world, your tenant would return the keys and vacate the property without any issues. However, sometimes you’ll need to request the sheriff’s services. 

It will most likely cost anywhere from $50 and $400 for the sheriff to serve notice on your behalf and escort the tenant away from the property. 

Missed Rent  

The most common reason for an eviction is missed rent payments. It often takes around three months to legally remove a tenant from your property. Statista shows that the average rent in North America is $1,322 per month. Therefore, the cost to evict someone, in terms of missed rent, is typically around $3,966.  

Repair Costs  

Once you evict a tenant, repairs and deep cleaning will probably be necessary. These expenses will fluctuate depending on the damage. Also, you will have to change the locks, so budget for that no matter what. 

Changing locks usually costs around $150. Aside from this cost, it isn’t easy to estimate the other repair costs. They can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the level of damage. 

Other Costs  

In addition to the costs we’ve already mentioned, it’s important to understand there could be even more things to consider. Let’s look at a few below: 

  • Traveling expenses. It’s likely you’ll need to go back and forth between the property and elsewhere due to the eviction. This will cost you gas money and time. 
  • Marketing vacant units. Depending on where you place advertisements, these usually cost $100 to $200. 
  • Lost time. This is arguably the most valuable cost of an eviction. You must spend time on something while your time would be better spent elsewhere. This is a big part of why it’s critical to screen tenants as well as possible. 

There can also be other costs associated with evictions. Each eviction can offer slightly different circumstances that may require different things from you. That’s why you must understand the laws and follow procedures as much as possible. 

Conclusion 

Transunion Smartmove’s data estimates that most evictions cost between $3,500 and $10,000. This isn’t cheap. So, you want to do what you can to avoid these arduous, time-consuming, financially burdensome events. 

Screening tenants well can help prevent costly evictions. It also helps to build good relationships with tenants and communicate proactively. Regardless of how well you approach your business, though, you may have to evict someone at some point, so it’s important to have a general idea of the cost ahead of time.  

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