To Evict or Relocate? What is the Bigger Risk to You?

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Couple hugging sadly in front of moving boxes

To Evict or Relocate? What is the Bigger Risk to You?

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When you’re a landlord, one of the more difficult tasks is trying to get rid of a tenant. If they leave on their own volition, that’s one thing. It’s an entirely different situation when you’re trying to make them leave and they are digging their heals in. At this point, you have two choices. One: evict them. Two: relocate them. Neither of these tasks is a walk in the park. How do you pick?

Relocation

When you’re a landlord, one of the more difficult tasks is trying to get rid of a tenant. If they leave on their own volition, that’s one thing. It’s an entirely different situation when you’re trying to make them leave and they are digging their heals in. At this point, you have two choices. One: evict them. Two: relocate them. Neither of these tasks is a walk in the park. How do you pick?

Relocation is pretty simple in theory. This is when a tenant picks up their stuff, waves goodbye, and puts it down somewhere else. You can dust off your hands and wave hello to a new tenant if you have one ready. The problem is that moving house costs money and tenants aren’t always happy to do that. It could be that they need to pay move in fees, or maybe they need to pay for a professional mover to deal with larger items that don’t fit in the trunk of their car. If they can’t afford to tack on these new price tags, they might say no to relocation. That leads to the next option.

couple moving boxes into truck
couple moving boxes into truck

Relocation

Relocation is pretty simple in theory. This is when a tenant picks up their stuff, waves goodbye, and puts it down somewhere else. You can dust off your hands and wave hello to a new tenant if you have one ready. The problem is that moving house costs money and tenants aren’t always happy to do that. It could be that they need to pay move in fees, or maybe they need to pay for a professional mover to deal with larger items that don’t fit in the trunk of their car. If they can’t afford to tack on these new price tags, they might say no to relocation. That leads to the next option.

Eviction

Eviction is not simple in theory – it’s not simple in any way, shape, or form. This is a time-consuming process that requires a court hearing, a lot of paperwork, and even a lawyer if you can. While waiting for the court date, the tenant stays on your property, presumably not paying rent.

This could all take a long time, with a lot of lost rent. With COVID-19, eviction courts have become overwhelmed. There are a lot of people who couldn’t and didn’t pay rent, a lot of landlords wanting evictions for lack of payment, and courts had their doors shut. The backlog means these landlords have been waiting, and if you seek an eviction now, you’ll be waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And during all this, there will be no rent.

Choice

As a landlord, there is a balancing act to consider. The third option is just bad – letting the tenant stay indefinitely and most likely loose far too much money – it leaves only two choices left. Eviction or relocation? Both options will still cost money.

Eviction

Eviction is not simple in theory – it’s not simple in any way, shape, or form. This is a time-consuming process that requires a court hearing, a lot of paperwork, and even a lawyer if you can. While waiting for the court date, the tenant stays on your property, presumably not paying rent.

This could all take a long time, with a lot of lost rent. With COVID-19, eviction courts have become overwhelmed. There are a lot of people who couldn’t and didn’t pay rent, a lot of landlords wanting evictions for lack of payment, and courts had their doors shut. The backlog means these landlords have been waiting, and if you seek an eviction now, you’ll be waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And during all this, there will be no rent.

hand grabbing house

Choice

As a landlord, there is a balancing act to consider. The third option is just bad – letting the tenant stay indefinitely and most likely loose far too much money – it leaves only two choices left. Eviction or relocation? Both options will still cost money.

hand grabbing house

In order to convince an unwilling tenant to get up and leave, a landlord may have to offer relocation fees, and depending on location or reasons, it may be required for a landlord to pay these fees. For example, Seattle has relocation fees based on the tenant’s household size and income bracket. Ask a lawyer in your area about the requirements for relocation fees. Consider the long-term costs of both. If you pay for relocation, it will be a one-time payment, and from there, you can move on. It could be a few thousand dollars, depending on your location, but once that is paid, it will be done. The price of eviction is much more complicated. This will include lost rent, filing costs, service fees, sheriff fees, and if necessary, lawyer’s fees. Depending on how long it will take, the amount of rent lost may be difficult to predict.

In order to convince an unwilling tenant to get up and leave, a landlord may have to offer relocation fees, and depending on location or reasons, it may be required for a landlord to pay these fees. For example, Seattle has relocation fees based on the tenant’s household size and income bracket. Ask a lawyer in your area about the requirements for relocation fees. Consider the long-term costs of both. If you pay for relocation, it will be a one-time payment, and from there, you can move on. It could be a few thousand dollars, depending on your location, but once that is paid, it will be done. The price of eviction is much more complicated. This will include lost rent, filing costs, service fees, sheriff fees, and if necessary, lawyer’s fees. Depending on how long it will take, the amount of rent lost may be difficult to predict.

Eviction

$5-10,000

VS.

Lost Rent

Median Rent ($1,468) X 6 Months = $8,808

The best choice for you will depend greatly on your specific situation. With COVID-19 delaying courts, maybe relocating an out of work tenant will be better for you. Maybe if relocation fees are too great and courts are already back to a normal schedule, eviction would be better. It’s all up to you as a landlord to know what’s best.

The best choice for you will depend greatly on your specific situation. With COVID-19 delaying courts, maybe relocating an out of work tenant will be better for you. Maybe if relocation fees are too great and courts are already back to a normal schedule, eviction would be better. It’s all up to you as a landlord to know what’s best.

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2 Replies to “To Evict or Relocate? What is the Bigger Risk to You?”

  1. Either choice is a problem. Exactly what we are faced with. Tenant refuses to move out after given a 60-day Notice to terminate Tenancy. Gate is locked and he has 2 big dogs and would not let us access his yard. We plan to build a house and soil engineer, architect etc. need access to yard. Please advise..

    1. Thanks for commenting, Joyce. Unfortunately, unlawful detainer laws really depend on what state and city your rental property resides in. If you’re weighing the pros & cons of an eviction, COVID-19 especially complicates things as there’s not only the nationwide eviction moratorium but some state-wide eviction moratoriums are still in effect. I recommend that you seek legal counsel. This blog is not intended to be taken as legal advice, and a lawyer could more accurately and effectively help you with your situation.

      Based on your comment, it sounds like both choices (evicting vs. offering relocation fees) could lead to a head full of headaches. By offering relocation, you’re putting the choice of moving in the renter’s hands – and they could always say no. You know your tenant better than I do, but based on your description it sounds like it’s likely they’d refuse. With an eviction route, you’re looking at a much longer process if you’re pursuing an eviction for nonpayment. Your renter could submit a declaration to qualify for the CDC’s eviction moratorium, which would postpone the eviction to January and if your local courts are inundated with pending unlawful detainer cases it could be longer. If the eviction is NOT for nonpayment, it could expedite things, however, the state and local level could restrict that. It’s a challenging situation to be in, but fortunately, you do have options on how to reclaim your property.

      As a starting point, I highly recommend that you refer back to the lease agreement, highlight the terms for your rights to reclaim your property, and bring this to legal counsel that is well-versed in property law so you can safely determine what courses of action you might be able to take legally within your state/city.

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2 Replies to “To Evict or Relocate? What is the Bigger Risk to You?”

  1. Either choice is a problem. Exactly what we are faced with. Tenant refuses to move out after given a 60-day Notice to terminate Tenancy. Gate is locked and he has 2 big dogs and would not let us access his yard. We plan to build a house and soil engineer, architect etc. need access to yard. Please advise..

    1. Thanks for commenting, Joyce. Unfortunately, unlawful detainer laws really depend on what state and city your rental property resides in. If you’re weighing the pros & cons of an eviction, COVID-19 especially complicates things as there’s not only the nationwide eviction moratorium but some state-wide eviction moratoriums are still in effect. I recommend that you seek legal counsel. This blog is not intended to be taken as legal advice, and a lawyer could more accurately and effectively help you with your situation.

      Based on your comment, it sounds like both choices (evicting vs. offering relocation fees) could lead to a head full of headaches. By offering relocation, you’re putting the choice of moving in the renter’s hands – and they could always say no. You know your tenant better than I do, but based on your description it sounds like it’s likely they’d refuse. With an eviction route, you’re looking at a much longer process if you’re pursuing an eviction for nonpayment. Your renter could submit a declaration to qualify for the CDC’s eviction moratorium, which would postpone the eviction to January and if your local courts are inundated with pending unlawful detainer cases it could be longer. If the eviction is NOT for nonpayment, it could expedite things, however, the state and local level could restrict that. It’s a challenging situation to be in, but fortunately, you do have options on how to reclaim your property.

      As a starting point, I highly recommend that you refer back to the lease agreement, highlight the terms for your rights to reclaim your property, and bring this to legal counsel that is well-versed in property law so you can safely determine what courses of action you might be able to take legally within your state/city.

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The nation’s most trusted tenant screening for real estate agents, landlords, and property managers. No cost background checks available 24/7.

©2018 ApplyConnect. All rights reserved

ApplyConnect marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of applyconnect.com. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.