The eviction process is something that most property owners hope to never experience with a renter. It can be time-consuming, costly, and stressful. If you've never removed a resident from a property, you may not realize the true costs involved and how a bad renter can damage your bottom line.
The best way to find out the average cost for eviction in your area is by talking with a Baltimore property management company. Expert property managers can give you accurate information about your specific situation and help you make an informed decision on how best to deal with a tenant's lease violation and eviction. While this blog is not intended as a substitution for sound legal advice, today, we'll touch on a few details to help real estate investors understand how much it can cost to evict a renter in Baltimore, MD.
What Is the Cost of the Eviction Process?
Property owners must understand the steps involved in evicting a tenant if you are a landlord. Several steps will include a cost, so knowing where those costs will come from is a good way to estimate the costs to a property owner when evicting a renter.
Costs Begin With Income Loss
The first step of the eviction process is determining if the tenant hasn't paid rent or has violated the lease agreement to justify their removal. The terms of this contract will outline what both parties agreed to do while living on your property, which might include things like paying rent every month or following specific house rules, for example.
For instance, if the renter doesn't pay the rent, that is a blatant lease violation. A property owner can consult an attorney and begin the eviction process. When considering the costs, a property owner starts incurring costs when a renter stops paying rent. Whether it's one or two months without rent—or you're dealing with several months of nonpayment—you could be dealing with several thousand dollars worth of lost rental income at the start of the eviction process.
Serving a 30-Day Eviction Notice Can Require a Paid Server
Before serving the official 30-day notice, a property owner should issue a 3-day notice to give the tenant a few days to fix a problem that might be an oversight.
The next step involves the eviction notice letter. There are specific rules for Maryland evictions, but typically eviction notices must be hand-delivered by a third party or sent by certified mail with the return receipt requested. The cost of serving the notice can range from $50 to $200, depending on how it is done. If you have a property manager, they can serve the notice for you and document that the tenant received it.
File Paperwork with the Court (and Pay Court Fees)
Once the written notice has been delivered, the next step is filing paperwork with the proper court. The court filing fee can vary depending on where it is filed. If you've never been through eviction court proceedings, working with an eviction attorney or a company that provides property management services can help you make sure the case is filed correctly.
A Court Date is Set (and Can Be Costly)
After a property owner files the petition, a judge schedules a hearing. This hearing can cost up to $500 or more, depending on the court and whether or not an attorney is involved. There could also be a 30- to 60-day waiting period before the court date, meaning the tenant can remain in the property and continue not paying their rent.
The Court Renders Its Decision
When a judge rules in favor of a property owner, it's time to hire a member of the sheriff's department or other law enforcement officials to ensure the tenant leaves the property and their possessions are removed. This can cost anywhere from $100 to $500, depending on the situation and timing.
The Total Cost of Eviction
In total, evicting a tenant can cost between $400 and $2,000 (or more), depending on the location and the steps involved. However, it's important to note these costs can vary, so it is best to consult with an attorney and property management company before starting the eviction process.
In addition to lost rent, court fees, and server fees, property owners should also be prepared for attorney fees, extensive costs to repair the property (if angry tenants left damage behind), and cleaning and make-ready costs to get the property ready for new residents again.
Be Prepared for Eviction With a Baltimore Property Management Company
Although not an easy process, evicting a tenant can be accomplished by following the proper steps and being prepared for the costs that go along with it. While we hope you never have to remove a renter from any rental properties, a Baltimore property management company recommends building cash reserves to help absorb these costs in case it happens. Partnering with a full-service property management company is one of the best ways to be prepared and navigate the process. To learn more about the benefits of residential property management services, reach out to Renters Warehouse BW Metro!
We also recommend downloading our free Rental Property Owner's Tenant Eviction Checklist for more insights.