How Much Does Tenant Eviction Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

Tenant eviction is the legal process where a landlord removes a tenant from a rented property.  The law applies here if a tenant who has violated their lease agreement by not paying on time or doesn’t pay at all.

Tenant eviction is filed in a local court of law, and with any court filing, there will be fees that need to be paid.  The price depends on the geographical location and if any legal help is brought into play.

Notice by rentalrealities, on Flickr
Notice” (CC BY 2.0) by rentalrealities

How much does a tenant eviction cost?

The total cost for filing a tenant eviction can range anywhere from $350 to do it yourself to as much as $2,000+ if you bring a lawyer in.   This won’t include the additional costs such as lost rent, repairs, cleaning fees and other additional fees mentioned below.  By the time you factor in all of these extras, it shouldn’t come in as shock if the eviction costs $3,000 to $5,000.

Hiring an eviction attorney/lawyer, for example, could cost anywhere from $250 to $500 as a flat fee being charged to as much as $200 to $400 per hour if the case were to drag in court.  The costs, ultimately, will depend on the attorney, if a jury trial is needed and the time required for the case.  A simple case, if you haven’t done it yourself yet, can often have a flat fee, while a more complex case could reach well into the thousands.

According to Landlordology.com, by the time you factor in the lost rent, lawyer, court costs, sheriff, locksmith, repairs and cleaning fees, your total costs can be close to $5,350 when everything is said and done.

American Tenant Screen says the costs of hiring an attorney could cost up to $5,000 if the case were to go to trial and the tenant retains counsel.

In Minnesota, for instance, the filing fee is $320, the summons is $75, the writ of recovery is $55 and the sheriff’s fee to evict is another $125, bringing the total to $525 without lawyer fees.

Tenant eviction overview

There are several fees associated when filing for tenant eviction.  The price can differ depending on the geographical location as well as the type of fee.  Fees, such as a filing fee and summons fee, will be included since this is what usually makes up the total cost when filing for tenant eviction.

If hiring an attorney, he or she will make sure that the process is done correctly.  They will be able to assist with filling out the appropriate paperwork as well as give adequate notice to the tenants.  Every state will greatly vary with their tenant laws, so it is essential to know what the local laws are.  Be prepared to pay $150+ per hour for legal help.  Since this is often a standard procedure, you may even find some attornies will have a flat fee they charge.

The eviction process

Most eviction processes, no matter where you live in the United States, will often look like this:

You will first have to offer written notice to remedy the situation, including either pay or vacate.  Notices will vary by state.

If the tenant fails to acknowledge your notice, then the next step is to terminate the lease.

Once the lease is terminated, you will need to file an “unlawful detainer” action with the local courts.

Serve the tenant with a summons with notice to appear in court if your local courts don’t do this for you.

Attend the next hearing, and if you have your ducks in a row, then you should win an eviction with a financial judgment.

After the hearing, you will need a “writ of possession,” which is a court order allowing you to hire the local sheriff to help remove the tenant.

Wait for the sheriff to set the appointment and show up at the property that day to help remove the tenant.

If the tenant is there, the sheriff will remove them and the belonging, depending on local state laws, will have to be removed by you.

Change the locks and the property should be yours.

What are the extra costs?

The local sheriff charges about $50 to $250+ plus mileage for each person being served.  This price can differ based on the state and the county.

If the tenant requests a trial or proceeds with a lawsuit, additional court and attorney fees may apply in the future.

Unless you want the tenant to reenter the premises, it’s wise to change the locks.  The average locksmith or changing the locks on your own can cost $50 to $150, depending on how many locks need to be changed.

Administration and filing fees at the courts can be about $100 to $400, depending on where you live.

Depending on the situation, repairs may be necessary when the tenant moves out.  Oftentimes, what you may find out is that tenant won’t be happy and to annoy you even more, they may leave furniture behind or may even destroy your property.

Tips to know:

Tenants can avoid being evicted if the landlord fails to follow the proper procedure for eviction.  To play it safe and even save yourself money, seek the help of an attorney to make sure that you will be on the right track when you have to file for a tenant eviction case.  Failing to hire an attorney may result in a lawsuit or wrongful eviction.

If hiring an attorney, be sure to know the fees that are going to be charged ahead of time.  Most reputable attorneys will be able to lay out a fee schedule and give you a “ballpark” of what they can charge.

A clear and detailed contract can help give you an edge since the tenants are aware of what they are signing. Clearly indicate the consequences as well as the conditions should they fail to pay on time.

How can I save money?

Tenant eviction is going to cost you money even though you may be able to get it back by getting the amount due to you by the tenant.  Make sure that the tenant has reached the maximum allowable time to pay the dues to guarantee that the case will not have to be filed.

If you’re going to hire an attorney to help you with the process, services such as LegalMatch.com can help you find a qualified professional in your area.

While it sounds crazy, it may be cheaper to pay the tenant to move instead of taking the process to court.  This option, if done right, could save you close to $1,000 or more.


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