One of the biggest challenges a landlord will inevitably face is evicting a tenant who is no longer paying his or her rental fees stated in the contract. Such problem can be immediately resolved if the late dues are paid, but that’s not always the situation. There are many cases when it gets so difficult to remove the tenant to the point of getting into heated arguments, which can even result in physical injuries.
In order to avoid such drastic measures from happening, it is ideal to have the eviction undergo a legal process. It is safer and more peaceful than forcefully and physically removing the tenants out of the place, but it is relatively expensive. And since the eviction procedures are done legally, there should be a lawyer who will handle the proceedings and acquire the court order on behalf of the landlord.
A lawyer dealing with eviction cases (also known as an unlawful detainer lawsuit) is called an eviction lawyer. Although the legal approach prevents violence between the landlord and the tenant, the lawful procedures are strict and should be followed accordingly. As such, eviction lawyers have a lot of things to take care, making their work tedious and somehow complicated.
Cost of Hiring an Eviction Lawyer
If you are thinking of removing a tenant from your property, how much does it cost to evict someone legally? The answer significantly depends on how much a lawyer charges you for the case. According to LegalMatch, the eviction lawyer cost can range from $500 to $20,000, depending on the complexity of the case, its claims, and court proceedings, as well as the state where you currently reside.
There are cases when you can recover attorney fees, court costs, and other expenses incurred from the legal battle. However, that still depends on the laws of your state and the lease agreements. If for instance, you fail to follow the proper eviction process in accordance with the state law, your tenant may avoid getting evicted from the property, so be sure that you abide the laws.
Fee Structures of Eviction Lawyers
Let’s say you have already found a lawyer who will represent you in the eviction proceedings. The next thing you need to do is know how your lawyer collects the fees before formally signing a contract or any document related to billings. This is to avoid you from possible overspending issues. While attorney fees and the payment structure vary from one law firm to another, most eviction lawyers usually charge an hourly rate or a flat fee. How much is the difference?
If your lawyer charges on an hourly basis, expect to pay around $100 to $400 per hour for their professional services. But the rates will always vary based on your current location, your claim’s complexities, and your lawyer’s experiences in handling the lawsuit.
You may also need to pay a retainer which is a sum of money you give to your lawyer, covering a part of his or her costs and time. In the event when the retainer has been used up but the case is still going on, your legal counsel will bill additional hourly rates for the extended time.
Meanwhile, flat fees or fixed payments for an eviction case can range from $500 to $10,000 per case. Then again, the rates still depend on your demands and the level of expertise your lawyer. But you should know that lawyers who ask for lower fees don’t necessarily mean that they are not good. There are outstanding legal counsellors who can handle the case fast and with less hassle, causing for the fees to go down.
Factors Affecting Costs of Eviction Cases
Apparently, eviction cases are not all the same. They usually differ in their claims. Some tenants will voluntarily leave the place, while others resort to unlawful ways. But there are those who hire the services of a lawyer and face the landlord along with the eviction case in the court. In simplest terms, these circumstances can definitely affect the overall cost of legally evicting a tenant from your property.
In that regard, here are other factors that can change the cost of an unlawful detainer lawsuit:
Tenants Use Legal Defenses
If tenants acknowledge their eviction, the whole process can quickly be done and may not be too expensive. However, there are instances when tenants have defenses or reasons against the eviction such as poor housing conditions, cases of discrimination, or retaliation circumstances. Responding to such claims make take more time to settle, and it means higher costs to pay.
Tenants Demand a Trial by Jury
A jury trial is a legal proceeding wherein a jury makes the verdict of a certain case. In many states, tenants who are about to get evicted can demand a trial by jury. If this happens, expect for the whole process to be longer than how it should be. It requires more work, and this complexity typically increases the eviction lawyer cost and other related fees.
Landlords Seek Advice from Experts
Although eviction lawyers know the legal proceedings of evicting someone from a property, there are times when landlords and/or their legal counsel hire experts who can provide in-depth explanations on disputed issues related to the case. As such, the services of these experts mean an increase to the overall expenses. If there is a need to get depositions – these are sworn testimonies that a court reporter transcribes – the lawyers’ hourly rates increase as well.
Landlords Attempt to do an Eviction Without a Court Order
As a landlord, it is unlawful to evict a tenant without showing a court order. If you don’t follow the eviction laws and proceedings of the state, then you may be charged with additional fees, increasing your expenditures.
Complexities of the Case Mean More Hours to Pay
Basically, when there are too many circumstances that need to be addressed, lawyers need more time to resolve the situation. The longer it takes to settle the case, the higher the price you will incur.
Landlords Deal with Filing Fees and Court Costs
If you decide to take the eviction to the court, you will have to pay for filing a complaint in the court, the paperwork you will serve to the defendants, and the fees that a jury demands.