How Much Does It Really Cost To Evict A Deadbeat Tenant?
So the rent isn’t getting paid. And you have decided you’ve had enough.
Time to evict the deadbeat.
How much is it really going to cost you?
Depends on how you handle it.
Worst Case: You get impulsive and it costs you. Dearly.
Worst case, you get impulsive, you don’t take the time to follow the legal process, so every time you try to evict the deadbeat, you were forced to go back to start and NOT collect $200.
Worst case your tenant is also an attorney, so they know how to drag the process out.
In this case, there is no real number since you can literally spend endless amounts of time messing with this while your place sits occupied by a squatter.
Not concerned with squatters? You should be. There are many incidents every year. Here’s a recent famous case that happened to someone who used AirBnB to rent their condo out
Less Worse Case: You Do Things Legally
Less worst case? Take your monthly rent they owe you. Normally they will be at least one, if not two months behind by the time you pull the trigger on an eviction.
Add to that about another 2 months of vacancy if the process goes the distance before you can get someone else in the place.
If you are keeping track, that’s 4 months rent.
Here’s the other potential costs of the full legal process:
- Lawyer: $500
Legal fees to an attorney, if you hire one.
- Court Costs: $150
Court filing and administrative fees (varies by county).
- Sheriff: $50
Fees to hire the Sheriff to execute the Writ of Possession.
- Locksmith: $150
To change the locks on the day of the eviction.
- Repairs: $1,000
Home damage and junk removal (this is being very conservative)
- Cleaning fees: $500
Do you really think they are going to clean if you evict them?
So if your rent is $1000 per month, then the total legit process if it goes full term will cost over $6,000.
The better option: collect some flies with honey
This is going to sound like crazy talk, but offer to pay the tenant to leave quickly. You can ask them to clean, but that is pretty much a waste of your breath in my experience.
How much do you offer? As little as you can to motivate them to move. Maybe you pay for a mover.
I know, you want me to see a shrink. I’m talking about giving money to the jerk who owes me money. They should pay ME!!!! Yes, I know.
But do the math. Run this like a business.
Now they leave and are out of the place and you are out maybe 2-3 months rent. You have no court costs (you probably have to give notice of the lawsuit to motivate them and give you some leverage however).
All told? This option probably costs you at least $2-3K less in the overall scheme of things. Sometimes less than that.
The best option: hire a property management company and have them professionally screen and manage the property. And if they offer the service (and many do) have them handle the eviction
Why is this best? It still may cost you money. But with professional screening, your chances of getting a bad apple are dramatically reduced. And they will have experience dealing with slow paying tenants and address them before they get off the rails, without being impulsive.
And most importantly? You don’t have to deal with the problem tenant directly.
Life is too short. Let the property management company do the dirty work while you sip drinks with little umbrellas in them.