Eviction Costs

19 Replies

I received this e-mail from my property manager and I was wondering if the costs sound reasonable.  This is in Seattle, Washington.

"The total amount that will be owed to the attorney is $737.98. This is going to include everything to the attorney including the sheriff.

I went out there this morning before the attorney scheduled the sheriff to see whether or not there were still items inside the home. It would have saved a little money if she would have moved out and I could have just taken possession of the property but I saw a lot of stuff inside, so I am waiting on a call from the sheriff and we will have to do a physical eviction. The only other costs that there will be is a locksmith to come out and change the locks ($99) and I will need to hire a couple people from Labor Ready to come move all of the items out of the house. I believe they run $15 an hour with a 4 hour minimum, so that will be appx $120. We don't charge anything for being there with the sheriff or handling the process."

That sounds great for the labor. Our lawyer/court fees are 1/3 that in Denver.

I pay my NJ eviction attorney $300, unless they have to go back to court again if a tenant appeals. That's another $100. The sheriff's costs are separate, probably another $100. In FL, my contractor and I do all the paperwork ourselves, as those properties aren't in an LLC. We pay the court fees and sheriff, and the total ends up about $300 when it's all said and done.

Ouch!!!  Our evictions cost $118.  $72 for the court and $46 for the constable to serve the papers.  We don't use an attorney, but I've been told they run about $200 here in N. AZ.  The Police dept enforces the eviction order without an additional fee if the tenant doesn't obey the court order to move out.  I'd ask the PM to get estimates from other attorneys.  Most will let you know over the phone what their average billing for an eviction is.  Good luck!

Wow seems high. Couple hundred if you do it yourself.  I usually avoid eviction.  I'll pay the tenant a few hundred to leave within 7 days.  Only had to do that a couple times and it works like a charm.

Yes, your fees are definitely in line for a Washington State eviction utilizing an attorney.  I'm down the street in Olympia (Thurston County).  I did an eviction in August without an attorney and the fees were as follows: 

$20 County specific forms & Instructions from court (can use generic, and this is a one time cost because we'll make copies for the next one).

$85 file the Summons & Complaint with the court.

$25 process server (my yard maintenance guy: cost plus mileage if you use a professional Process server).

$0 for default judgment ($135 for court date if they contest).

$125 for sherrif to deliver the writ of restitution and notice to vacate.

$40 for sherrif to show up for physical eviction.

So, the basic cost could be as low as $295 and up to $430 if they contest.  Add in an attorneys knowledge and experience to do it right the first time and you can certainly add another $300.  

cost in northern NJ are around the same. around 750.00 for evicttion, if you have an LLC.

$103.00 in oklahoma.  Can be in front of judge in less than 2 weeks

cost in northern NJ are around the same. around 750.00 for evicttion, if you have an LLC.

@Nghi Le  I am in Washington State, six hours south of you. This is the true cost breakdown from an eviction we did in June 2014 in Clark County. Just under 30 days from start to finish.

Landlord: $0 (We deliver the "Notice to Pay Rent or Quit". Tenant does not take action to do either. We take our documents to our attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant law.)

Attorney Fee: $500 (flat fee for members of the Clark County Rental Association, includes everything from paperwork to court representation)

Filing Fee: $197 (with the Clark County Superior Court)

Service Fee: $40 (process server hand delivers package of five court orders to tenant:  Complaint for Unlawful Detainer, Motion and Declaration for Order to Show Cause, Order to Show Cause-Unlawful Detainer, Eviction Summons, Payment or Sworn Statement Requirement)

Court: Fees covered by filing fee...our attorney and our tenant appear before the judge, resulting in a judgement in our favor, court issues: Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, Writ of Restitution)

Writ Fee: $20 (Sheriff delivers/posts the writ of restitution and also written instructions for the tenant to follow outlined in layman's terms).

Sheriff Fee: $85 (Sheriff is at property for one hour while we empty the apartment). Note: This fee occurs only if tenant does not move out upon court order to do so, which is what happened in our case.

In addition, we incurred other costs such as changing locks, moving & storage. This included 20 man hours of labor (4 movers x 5 hrs), rental of a u-haul truck, and rental of a 10 x 15 storage unit to hold the contents of the 2BR apartment. In Washington State, if the tenant pays moving & storage costs, they can get their belongings back. We also have the option to put the tenant belongings on the curb if the tenant does not request storage... which is a less expensive way to do it.

Costs are reasonable.

Doing it yourself is cheaper but you may not even have that option. 

Some cities require you to use an attorney to file an eviction if the property is held in an LLC or a partnership.

Sounds about right especially if they will be handling it for you and do not charge for being there. Good luck! 

Originally posted by @Frank R.:

Wow seems high. Couple hundred if you do it yourself.  I usually avoid eviction.  I'll pay the tenant a few hundred to leave within 7 days.  Only had to do that a couple times and it works like a charm.

I'm not aware of any CA eviction that costs a couple hundred.  Even if you do it yourself, the CA filing fee for unlawful detainers under $10K is $240.  Then summons service for $25-40.  Then sheriff lockout fee of $125+ depending on county.  That assumes you are in the area and can serve the 3-day quit or pay notice yourself, show up at court on the appointed day, and you, as the owner or property manager, must be present at the scheduled sheriff lockout.

In August I paid an eviction service $595 to do all of it and never set foot on the property until they tenants were ready to leave.  I received a $125 refund as I was able to get them to move before the lockout was scheduled.  I thought it was a bargain at $470.00.

Thank you all for your answers; you guys are awesome!  This isn't something that I'd like to handle myself, and you've reassured me that I have a great property manager :-)

@Marcia Maynard

Since you have started and ran your own property management company through the years; have you ever, or do you ever pay all eviction costs for the property owner? Have you ever set a contract up like that?

Originally posted by @Peter Mckernan :

@Marcia Maynard

Since you have started and ran your own property management company through the years; have you ever, or do you ever pay all eviction costs for the property owner? Have you ever set a contract up like that?

We only manage our own properties. So the answer to both questions is no.

We are buy and hold investors. We coordinate our own rehabs and we do property management ourselves. We have 17 residential rental units (SFRs and small plexes). Our business is set up into to LLCs (one is a 5 person partnership with family members and one is a two person partnership with only my husband and myself). I have however provided mentorship to other landlords in Washington and Oregon. I have also taken tenant calls for other owners when they were out of town, but I followed the guidelines of what the other owner set forth for me to do.

The process in Delaware is approximately $50 for the various filings. But  and should budget for having a lawyer complete?  I made the mistake of doing this process myself, resulting in multiple filings, and multiple trips, wasting a lot of time.  You live and you learn.

@William Lewis I used to do the multiple trips thing. Then I signed up for e-file, I had to take a free course to be eligible for it, but now I only go to the court for the actual hearing - all else (complaint, request for writ of possession, wage garnishment request) is filed online. If I make a mistake, I get a rejection notice within 24 hours with instructions what needs to be corrected. Check it out if you are still managing properties in Delaware.

Actually, I would complain more that the management company does not have their own people to move the boxes out, and they can not install a new lock themselves.

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