Author Topic: DIY Evictions  (Read 7505 times)

AlmostIndependent

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DIY Evictions
« on: September 27, 2013, 06:01:29 PM »
I have a tenant that I may have to evict. I haven't had to go so far as to actually evict anyone yet. I know that going through a lawyer will cost a small fortune; has anyone evicted a tenant without a lawyer? If so do you have any advice? Things to do? Things not to do?

arebelspy

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Re: DIY Evictions
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2013, 06:11:03 PM »
Around here we have eviction companies that will take care of it.  Cheaper than a lawyer (though they use lawyers), because that is their business model, so they are quite efficient at it.

Look into it, and otherwise start reading your states laws, go to the courthouse website and get the documents you need, etc.

Also watch out for some of the pitfalls this guy had (like the court only being open one day per week): http://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2013/09/23/eviction-costs/
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Jwilliamson22

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Re: DIY Evictions
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2013, 06:11:09 PM »
I havent had to evict anyone yet, but in my area you can pay an attorney to file the initial paperwork and get the initial notice posted on the door for a reasonable amount $150-200. That (from what I have heard) is normally enough to either scare them into paying or for them to hit the road...

GrayGhost

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Re: DIY Evictions
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2013, 09:24:30 PM »
This is sort of off topic, but isn't it true that when you write up a lease, you can include a clause holding the tenant liable for lawyer fees should things get escalated to the point of eviction?

Another Reader

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Re: DIY Evictions
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2013, 09:40:30 PM »
If your state laws are the least bit tenant friendly, you will want to hire someone that's experienced.  If you don't, you will likely get tripped up somewhere in the process and lose the case.  Then you have to start from scratch with a tenant that won the first round.  Go through it with an expert a few times, and then you can handle the easy ones yourself, if you really want the aggravation.

Nudelkopf

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Re: DIY Evictions
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2013, 09:52:33 PM »
Maybe I'm nice, but when I got a letter from my landlady telling me I had to leave because her daughter didn't like me (?), I just left.

calmloki

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Re: DIY Evictions
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2013, 09:42:33 PM »
Have done more than I like - do try to avoid them.  In Oregon it costs about $180 to do the filings and have the tenant served.  Then you go to court and hope the tenant doesn't show up or want to contest it. If they do, then you have more filings and services, and if you eventually win and they don't move you go back to court, and there are more services...  Be very careful about the timing on your notices to be sure the tenant gets the full required time - I normally add a day or so just because I got sent back to square one once by being a few days early...

I try and be good guy landlord and tell them if I can have the place back before we go to court - that's them out and keys - they can avoid an eviction on their record 'cause I have no reason to go to court.  Haven't yet, but may try and pay a tenant to leave - that grates badly, but can be cost effective.

tryan

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Re: DIY Evictions
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2013, 03:25:19 PM »
MA is a little easier but it takes 3 months minimum.  After serving a 14 day notice then a Summary Process (housing court invite) you get to  spend the entire day in housing court waiting to meet with a "housing specialist".  In this meeting you'll be strong armed into  accepting a payment plan which keeps the tennie in the house.  Only after they blow the payment plan can you request an Execution.  Than you get the pleasure of moving their stuff at your expense using a bonded mover ($400/room ... OUCH!).

NH is a little easier than MA in that you don't pay for the move.  Tenant moves it or you put it to the curb.  Notices are pretty similar.  No "specialist" involved.  Ironically it STILL cost me 3 months.

Just the cost of being in this business!

weston

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Re: DIY Evictions
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2013, 01:20:44 PM »
I know that going through a lawyer will cost a small fortune; has anyone evicted a tenant without a lawyer?

Why do you say it will be a small fortune? Have you priced it? Down here the landlord/tenant attorneys generally charge $99 to $150 for an eviction. It is money well spent.

AlmostIndependent

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Re: DIY Evictions
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2013, 03:56:55 PM »
I know that going through a lawyer will cost a small fortune; has anyone evicted a tenant without a lawyer?

Why do you say it will be a small fortune? Have you priced it? Down here the landlord/tenant attorneys generally charge $99 to $150 for an eviction. It is money well spent.

I have a friend who had to kick people out and it cost him roughly $1500 in attorney/court fees in addition to the money he lost not getting rent while kicking deadbeats out.

weston

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Re: DIY Evictions
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2013, 06:53:03 AM »
I know that going through a lawyer will cost a small fortune; has anyone evicted a tenant without a lawyer?

Why do you say it will be a small fortune? Have you priced it? Down here the landlord/tenant attorneys generally charge $99 to $150 for an eviction. It is money well spent.

I have a friend who had to kick people out and it cost him roughly $1500 in attorney/court fees in addition to the money he lost not getting rent while kicking deadbeats out.

Wow! That's crazy. I guess Alaska doesn't have a high enough volume of evictions to support attorneys who do that exclusively. I have a friend here in Florida who practiced landlord/tenant law exclusively for about 8 years. He (and his competitors) ran the practice in a low fee/high volume manner similar to how traffic ticket lawyers work. All the forms were in his computer so it would take his assistant about 5 minutes to prepare the paperwork and then once or twice a week he would go down to the Courthouse and have 20 cases set before the same judge at approximately the same time. He was only getting $99 per case but was only spending a couple of hours of court time knocking them all out 20 at a time.

He eventually burned out on the volume but I thought it was a pretty sweet business model, particularly for a young lawyer.

scarab007

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Re: DIY Evictions
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2013, 08:31:20 AM »
I would say hire someone who has experience and knows what to do. Worth the time and money and could drag on if you mess up.  What is your time worth? Do you work a regular job that you will need to take time off to do the court work? 

I know everyone on here is about saving money here and there by any means possible, but at times, it makes sense to just hire out the work.  Best of luck though with your tenant. 

Maybe you could provide some back story to why you might need to evict? Maybe I did not read it if it's posted.

CommonCents

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Re: DIY Evictions
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2013, 08:55:40 AM »
This is sort of off topic, but isn't it true that when you write up a lease, you can include a clause holding the tenant liable for lawyer fees should things get escalated to the point of eviction?

You could.  The problem is if you have a broke tenant, getting them to pay money they don't have can be challenging, problematic, and would likely take a while.

tryan

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Re: DIY Evictions
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2013, 12:09:27 PM »
Your court costs will be added to the judgement ... if a payment plan works out ,  you'll see the money.  If they leave - chances are - you won't see a dime.

I hired an attorney (years ago) for an eviction because the tenant claimed her kid had an elevated lead level.  My attorney (who I had used in roughly 20 closings) said he would "cut me a break" on the fee and only charge $250/hr.  OUCH!

Rbuckyfuller

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Re: DIY Evictions
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2013, 07:35:14 PM »
While I have no expertise whatsoever in landlord tenant law (none whatsoever -- I am a patent lawyer-- so look it up to confirm!), I remember from lawschool that courts do not look kindly on landlords who resort to "self help" such as changing the locks.

nedwin

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Re: DIY Evictions
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2013, 01:54:52 PM »
AlmostIndependent,

I have a rental in Eagle River, and used to practice law in AK (my license AK is inactive, I live in CO now).  The Alaska Court System has forms to use in Forcible Entry and Detainer (eviction) cases.  They are available on the Court System website, and usually at the Courthouse in hardcopy also.  The Court System website is:

http://courts.alaska.gov

From the homepage, go to the drop-down for Forms, Forms by Topic, then click Civil.  On the right hand side is listed "Forcible Entry and Detainer," click that and you will be taken to the forms for evictions.  I think there are also some instructions for the eviction process.  Follow the instructions, complete the correct forms, follow the Court process and soon you can have your home back.

Here is a useful guide about the Uniform Landlord/Tenant Act in AK, published by the Court System:

http://courts.alaska.gov/forms/pub-30.pdf

It also has information for evictions, and re-prints much of the actual statutes.

Good luck