Evictions are undeniably costly and time-consuming, and don’t seem like they’re going to disappear anytime soon. With local eviction rates fluctuating, use objective tenant screening data as your first line of defense against evictions, property damage, and a loss in reputation. The cost of an eviction can be much steeper than you might think.
When you look at local eviction rates, it’s apparent that the amount of evictions fluctuates from city to city. While the Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Board of San Francisco reported that their total eviction filings went up 0.7% in 2016, on the other hand, the New York Times recorded that evictions dropped by 18% (the lowest in a decade) in the city of New York. Although the location of your rental property might have a relatively low eviction rate, depending on local statistics is not wise. Without tenant screening, you leave the fate of your real estate investment up to chance.
Not utilizing tenant screening in your leasing process makes your property vulnerable to financial loss, property damage, and a lengthy (and costly) eviction. According to Stephen Duringer, Esq., founder of the Duringer Law Group, in The Cost of an Eviction, more and more evictions are going to trial. His firm alone has seen a marked increase over the past years, as they now handle hundreds of evictions each month, including dozens of jury trials weekly.
According to Duringer, “half of all evictions are uncontested and can usually be completed within 21 days for under $750. This is the best-case scenario for landlords and property managers, should the eviction go uncontested.” However, if you have an eviction, you should not expect the best-case scenario. “Approximately one-third of all eviction cases are contested and can cost about $1,200, and can typically be completed in six weeks or less,” Duringer stated, “this typically occurs when the residents answer the complaint, the case goes to court and a court trial is heard by a judge.” A very rare, small percentage of eviction cases can drag on for months, and can cost up to or over $5,000.
While it’s less likely that you’ll get a monster of an eviction that will cost over $5K, other factors can bring up the price tag. Fees to the Sherriff for an unlawful detainer situation, storage unit fees if the tenants left possessions on your property and a wide range in property damages can make an eviction costly. On top of it all, it is unlikely that your tenant is paying rent when residing on your rental, adding to their total balance.
In order to minimize your chances of having to evict a tenant, require a credit and background check on your applicants (with ApplyConnect®, it’s free for landlords). Even though false perceptions of a low eviction-rate city or your own intuition (I’ve heard some say “gut feeling”), might seem easier, tenant screening supplies objective renter information. From criminal records, eviction history, and the applicant’s credit and risk score, you can make informed rental decisions easily (and more quickly) with reliable background screening reports. Just make sure to do your research when choosing your tenant screening provider.
Have you ever handled an eviction? Was it a painful or painless process? Let us know your experiences in the comment section below or tweet us @ApplyConnect!