You've asked, begged, and pleaded for your tenants to pay their rent, get rid of the unauthorized pet, or stop disturbing the neighbors at midnight with uncontrolled parties. Being nice isn't getting you the results that you need, so it's time to look into your legal options. Eviction is a fairly straightforward process as far as court cases go, but when you're a new landlord, you don't necessarily want to go it alone.
When to Hire an Attorney for an Eviction
Evictions are generally open-and-shut cases, as many tenants won't respond to the complaint, so you get a decision by default. However, even though it's a fairly simple process compared to the rest of the legal system, there are specific rules that you have to follow perfectly to avoid giving your tenants any way to claim that you didn't follow the proper procedure.
Nolo recommends that you get an attorney if you have never gone through the eviction process before. This way, you have an expert to help guide you through the process and help you become familiar with each step. Legal representation is also a good idea if your tenants are also retaining a lawyer. You don't want to go up against a lawyer in court, especially if this is your first eviction.
There are certain eviction situations that are a bit more complicated than a standard non-payment eviction. Evicting tenants who are going through a bankruptcy process or attempting to evict tenants in an area that is rent-controlled, like New York City, requires additional assistance.
If you've never hired an attorney or would like to switch attorneys, talk with other property managers and landlords to see which law offices they go to for help. Online review sites for professional services are also helpful resources for finding an attorney who works for your eviction needs. Retain lawyers who specialize in eviction and real estate law, so they are up to date on the latest rules and regulations.
Can the Tenants Get a Lawyer
Tenants are free to retain legal counsel in the event of an eviction, although in most cases, you aren't even going to see your tenants in court. Eviction for non-payment is easily provable, and there are few circumstances where the court will consider stopping an eviction in this situation.
How Much Does an Eviction Procedure Cost
The exact price of an eviction depends on the city you file in. For example, an eviction costs around $110 in Hamilton County, Ohio. Generally, you're paying for a process server to deliver the eviction notice to the tenants, the filing fees for the eviction complaint, any lawyer's fees if you retain legal counsel, and a fee for a Writ of Execution if the tenants refuse to leave after the eviction and a sheriff has to get involved. While this may sound like a large investment, you can add your legal fees associated with the eviction to the judgment against the tenants. It may be difficult to collect on this judgment, but if they refuse to pay, you can levy bank accounts and and garnish their wages until the judgment is satisfied.
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