The Hidden Costs of an Eviction for Real Estate Agents

Conducting proper tenant verification and analyzing screening reports for rental applicants takes up valuable time that you may not want to waste. At times it may even seem easier to gloss over over the tenant verification process in order to get a lease signed faster. However, disregarding these crucial steps can be a big mistake for more reasons than one. At first glance, you may even think it’s financially advantageous for you or your client to get a tenant in as soon as possible. But dealing with an eviction can prove to be devastating over the long run.

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It’s never a good time to deal with an eviction. Aside from the direct costs paid out of pocket, it’s important to also keep in mind the hidden costs that will be incurred in the process. This includes the wasted time and the damage to your reputation in the eyes of current and future clients as a result of the faux pas.

How Much is Spent on an Eviction?

If you or any of your clients have ever had to deal with evicting someone, you know it is not an easy process. The costs just keep adding up with legal fees, court costs, financial damages, property damage, and lost rent.

According to a study done by TransUnion in 2015, the total eviction-related expenses for property managers averages $3,500 per eviction.

However, it is important to realize this is only an average and that the price can be much higher depending on which state you reside in, how long it takes to get the tenant out, and how much the rent is. On top of that, don’t forget all the rent that’ll be missed out on while getting the tenant out of the unit.

In some cases, according to legalmatch.com, an eviction lawyer can cost as much $20,000. With prices this high it’s almost unaffordable to evict a bad tenant.

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Eviction cost can quickly add up.Missing out on only one month's rent could be financially damaging for landlords. Using the average monthly rent for a two bedroom apartment in California ($1500) as an example we calculated the possible cost of an eviction.


  • Evictions Fees: $3,500
  • Legal Fees: $500 - $20,000
  • Lost Rent:$1500*n (n = number of months)
  • Total: $ 5,500 - $25,000

Unfortunately, the money wasted on an eviction is only the beginning as the time spent is almost greater.

Wasted Time

Evictions are not only expensive, but they take a ton of time and energy too. According to Dennis Block, an eviction attorney, it usually takes 4-6 weeks to evict an uncontested case. However, if contested, it can take more than two months to evict a tenant.

That’s a lot of time wasted on a bad tenant . As the saying goes ‘time is money’ and in this scenario it is quite true. Every week spent trying to evict a tenant, you are losing out on that weeks rent and money you could be earning closing other deals.

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According to glassdoor.com, the average real estate agent earns $25 per hour. Using this wage and a 40 hour work week the average eviction of six weeks costs a real estate agent $6,000 of wasted time. Now this may seem unrealistic as a real estate agent would not spend their entire time evicting someone. But even if we drop it down to 7 hours a week of energy and time spent, that's still $1,050 dollars with in six weeks.

Nobody wants to work for free and you shouldn’t have to.

Harm to Your Reputation

As if money wasted and time spent on evictions was not reason enough to conduct proper tenant verification, you can also suffer irreparable harm to your reputation.

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As a real estate agent if you end up recommending a problem tenant to your client, you risk losing their trust for good. The client may no longer want to work with you, and will be much less likely to recommend you to friends.

According to a study done by Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over any other source such as advertisements. With word of mouth being the most trusted source of marketing, it is extremely important not to damage your reputation as a real estate agent. As the saying goes, “be grateful for your reputation, it’s priceless”.

How to Avoid Evictions

alt In the best case scenario, an eviction would never be necessary. So how can you avoid getting a bad tenant? The answer starts with proper tenant verification practices and detailed analysis of screening reports. Taking your time and verifying that the prospective tenant has a good credit score, no previous evictions, and no criminal background is a great way for you to avoid eviction proceedings for both you and your client. With new services that offer online rental applications and tenant verification services, accessing screening reports for potential tenants is easier than ever before.

Bottom Line

Make sure to do your due diligence and screen all of your tenants. Spending a little time to properly verify tenants before they move in can translate to big time savings later on.

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