Eviction can just be one of those realities of being an apartment building owner.
So, how do you evict a delinquent renter? What best practices can help minimize and avoid the costs and stress of going through the eviction process?
How to Evict Tenants
It is first extremely important to point out that landlord-tenant laws can vary widely between states. Even the county, judge and sheriff deputies involved can have a substantial impact on which way this goes, how fast it happens, and your true costs.
Be very diligent in knowing your local laws. Otherwise, you could wind up in the hot seat yourself. The penalties for making mistakes in the eviction process or trying to force tenants out, including withholding services can run from owing multiple months of rent in compensation to losing your apartment building through eminent domain.
With that said, once a renter is late on their payments a landlord typically needs to being with a late notice, notice of non-renewal or notice to vacate. Once the legally mandated time is up, a motion can be filed with the county court.
Depending on your county, this can cost just a few hundred dollars. In a few cases, property owners can file their own eviction cases. In other jurisdictions and scenarios, a property management company or attorney must handle the filing.
If the eviction is uncontested, the tenant may just move out in a few days, and you are only out a few hundred dollars. If they choose to fight it, then it can take months, and easily run$1,500 or more. All tolled, including lost rent and any property damage, you could be looking at $5,000 or more in costs from a full eviction.
Smart Moves During a Tenant Default
Clearly it is wiser and more profitable to avoid having to engage in a drawn-out eviction in court.
In most cases, it is good to believe that the tenant is a good person, who wants to do the right thing, but is just struggling in one way or another. However, there are malicious criminals out there and the mentally unwell. It’s often difficult to distinguish between them on the surface.
So, never give up your rights to keep pursuing a timely eviction. Yet, try to give renters the chance and resources to catch up and pay up if they are serious about performing. Note that after you’ve filed an eviction and that shows up on their record, they can’t find any other landlords who will take them in. If they have nowhere to go and take their family, they have nothing to lose by barricading themselves in and dragging it out. Ideally, you can connect them with a Realtor who can find them something more affordable before that stage. You may even offer some incentive to get them to move early. It will cost you less. Most importantly, keep communication civil and open.
Preventing Tenant Defaults
Savvy landlords get even further ahead of the game to try and prevent defaults, and the worst outcomes if it does happen.
- Smart leases that motivate on-time payment and facilitate catching up
- Convenient payment options
- Providing contacts for third-party financial resources
- Setting clear expectations of your stance upfront
- Always utilizing a professional third-party property management
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bill Zahller is the President of Park Capital Properties and resides in Asheville, NC. As a Multifamily Real Estate Investor and Syndicator, he founded Park Capital Properties in 2016 after 14 years involvement in real estate investment. He works with accredited investors and professionals who are interested in real estate investment, diversification, and financial freedom.
Bill has been flying since high school. His father was a Naval Aviator and Captain for TWA. Bill has been flying professionally for over 25 years, 23 of those at his current company. He has accumulated over 12,000 hours and 7 Jet type ratings. He has also held Instructor, IOE Instructor and NRFO pilot positions with a large fractional flight company. He is currently flying the Global 6000 in a long range mission capacity. This keeps it interesting – one week its Beijing or Sydney; the next Rio or Rome.
Bill is also the founder of the Asheville Multifamily Investor Club. Visit www.ParkCapitalProperties.com for more information.