Evictions have been in the public eye a bit more recently due in part to the book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond. I have not read this book yet, but it seems to be stirring the pot a bit against us “evil landlords.” As an “evil landlord,” I want to be sure that people out there also understand my point of view when it comes to evictions, and that is: I hate them. Evictions are no fun, and I get absolutely no pleasure out of them. Nor do I know of a single landlord — and I know a quite a few — who enjoys the eviction process. In fact, most landlords I know try really hard to avoid the process altogether.
Why? There are many reasons. But here are six of the most common.
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6 Reasons All Landlords HATE Having to Evict a Tenant
1. Evictions are costly.
The one thing that most landlords want are tenants who stay, pay, and take care of their properties. We like to keep the cash flowing and work very hard to do so. When a tenant stops paying rent and refuses to move, the cash has stopped flowing, and I have to begin a very expensive process. There are court fees, attorney fees, process server fees, writ fees, moving fees, parking fees — fees, fees, fees. Evictions are just plain expensive.
2. Evictions are time consuming.
Evictions can eat up a lot of your time. You have to gather records, file papers, or perhaps talk to an attorney to help you. You often have to go to court, many times more than once. Plus, you will have to supervise the process of getting your tenant out and changing the locks, along with getting the property back in shape and back on the rental market.
3. Evictions are stressful.
Evictions put everyone under a lot of stress because they are extremely confrontational. You are upset that your tenant is not paying and forcing you to evict, and they are upset that they are getting kicked out of their home.
This type of stress is simply not something you need in your life. Stress causes you to lose your focus. It takes you out of your best game, and if allowed to continue can cause some pretty serious health concerns. For me, this is one of the main reasons I try to avoid evictions. I just do not like confrontation. I can and will do it if I have to, but I still try to avoid it.
4. Evictions can be dangerous.
Evictions by their very nature are full of conflict. You are, when all is said and done, sending someone with a gun over to someone’s home to force them and their possessions out. Some will leave in the middle of the night before that happens. But others will continue to keep their heads in the sand until the very last minute and will get angry and possibly turn violent.
That anger may be focused on you, the deputy, or even your property. I have heard of folks getting shot. I have seen tenants set their property on fire, and I have seen my property get severely damaged. Who needs that? Not me or any landlord I know.
5. Evictions mean I have messed up.
When one of my tenants forces me to go to the eviction court, it is time for me to look in the mirror and ask, “Where did I go wrong here?” Did I screen this person properly or did they scam me somehow? Did I let my standards slack a bit in order to get a body in a vacant unit? What did I miss during their tenancy that could have prevented this? In sum, I am asking what I could have done to prevent the current situation and how I can avoid it in the future.
6. Evictions may be forcing otherwise good people out on the street.
Sometimes good people get themselves in really bad situations. They lose their jobs. They get really sick. They are the recipient of a series of really unfortunate circumstances. By the time eviction comes, they have exhausted all of their options and may have nowhere to go. These stories break my heart, and they do sometimes happen.
I try and work with folks as best I can, but I have bills to pay as well ,and the bank just will not give a damn that my tenant has lost their job or is sick and cannot pay. It sucks, but it is the reality of the situation. In these types of situations, I really try to get the tenant to move on so I am not forced to file an eviction on their already overloaded backs. Most take my advice, but a few, for whatever reason, force the eviction.
For all of these reasons and more, evictions are something I really try to avoid. In fact, I take it as a point of pride that we have only had to go to eviction court less than ten times in the dozen years we have been in business. Sometimes evictions are not possible to avoid, but with solid screening techniques and even perhaps offering cash for keys, they can be avoided. And I personally think that is best for everyone involved.
Landlords: What do YOU hate most about evictions? What steps do you have in place to minimize them?
Let me know with a comment!