The Costs of Eviction: Financial Considerations for Landlords

Landlords, the most important decisions you make when dealing with tenants involve researching the tenant as well as considering eviction if the tenant does not meet the terms of their lease agreement. Evicting a tenant can be a stressful and costly process, and it’s important to understand the full financial implications before you make any decisions.

The Highs and Lows of Eviction

When making decisions about eviction, it’s essential to get an understanding of the potential financial implications. Evictions can end in one of two ways: either the tenant will vacate the rental property or will take the landlord to court. In the first scenario, the landlord would still have their rental costs as well as lost income, while the second can be hard to predict, because court costs, damages, and lost income can add up quickly.

Time is Money

It might not seem like training documentation or researching the tenant before they move in costs any money, but it does. Landlords invest their own time to research and collect information, and that time has a monetary value. Combining the time spent with documentation, background checks, inspecting the rental, maintaining records, and overseeing the lease often ends up taking a significant amount of time, and money.

Court Costs

In the event that the landlord does have to go to court and evict a tenant, the landlord must also pay for court fees. The fees associated with court can vary greatly, but they must be paid by the landlord. Further, even if the landlord wins their case, they may not receive all legal costs and damages.


If the tenant decides to take the landlord to court, the tenant can win compensatory and punitive damages. This often includes attorney’s fees and court costs. If the tenant’s case is successful, then the landlord could be on the hook for all of these costs, plus the medical bills related to any injuries that occurred during the eviction.

Lost Income

When a tenant does not pay rent, the landlord is losing income and any related profits that would have come from the rental. Additionally, the landlord may be required to refund any security deposit payments already given to the tenant. If the tenant refuses to voluntarily vacate the property, then the landlord may be required to hire an attorney to help with the eviction process. This further adds to the cost of an eviction.

Residential Tenancy laws & Regulations

Before deciding to evict a tenant, it’s important for landlords to be familiar with the relevant residential tenancy laws and regulations. Landlords can face hefty fines and penalties if they do not follow the process closely – landlords must understand how to properly provide a notice to vacate, for example.

Reimbursing Tenant for Damages

In some cases, the tenant may be legally entitled to receive reimbursement for any damages made to the rental property. If this is the case, then the landlord is responsible for paying the tenant for any repairs or replacements that must be made.

What’s at Stake Without an Eviction?

Without an eviction, the landlord risks loss of income and potential legal fees related to a tenant not paying their rent. Not evicting can also hurt a landlord’s reputation, which can lead to lost opportunities and higher vacancies. Lastly, it’s important to understand that without an eviction, the tenant is still legally on the premises and can use the legal system to fight any eviction action the landlord takes.

Ways to Minimize Eviction Costs

  • Take time to research the tenant before they move in.
  • Make sure that all documentation is filled out properly.
  • Collect a security deposit if possible.
  • Keep good records of all communication with the tenant and any payments.
  • Understand the relevant residential laws and regulations.
  • Ensure that all evictions are handled according to state law.
  • Be prepared to take the tenant to court in the event that they do not comply with the eviction notice.
  • Offer an appropriate incentive to avoid an eviction.
  • Consider hiring an attorney who specializes in landlord-tenant law.

The Bottom Line

Evicting a tenant is rarely a decision made lightly and, as such, it’s important for landlords to understand all the financial considerations. Doing the research beforehand, understanding rents laws, and knowing all the potential costs involved can help landlords make the right decision in any eviction circumstance.


Eviction matters can be tricky, but it’s important for landlords to recognize that there are certain financial implications that should be taken into account. By researching tenants before they move in, understanding relevant laws and regulations, and doing everything by the book, landlords can minimize the potential costs associated with evictions. In the end, being wary of the costs of eviction is the best way for a landlord to protect themselves and their rental property.

What are the most common reasons for evicting a tenant?

1. Non-payment of rent: This is the most common reason for eviction. Tenants are usually evicted when they fail to pay their rent or other fees as per the rental lease agreement.

2. Violation of rental agreement: Tenants may be evicted if they violate the terms of the rental agreement, such as having additional people living in the rented premises, causing damage to the property, creating nuisance to other tenants in the same building, or using the rented premises for illegal activities.

3. Persistent late payments: If a tenant is regularly late in paying rent, the landlord may evict the tenant, seeking a more reliable tenant.

4. Unauthorized subleasing: Tenant’s subleasing the rented property without the landlord’s consent may result in eviction proceedings.

5. Refusal to pay rent increase: Refusal to pay a rent increase approved by the landlord may also be a cause for eviction.

What are the steps to evicting a tenant?

1. Provide the tenant with a notice to vacate: Depending on the state laws, the landlord must provide the tenant with written notice to vacate the rental property.

2. Schedule a hearing: If the tenant does not vacate the rental property before the specified date, the landlord must schedule a hearing before an official, such as a judge or arbitrator.

3. Prepare a case: During the hearing, the landlord must provide evidence such as a lease violation or unpaid rent for why the tenant is being evicted.

4. Finalize the eviction: The official presiding over the hearing will decide if the tenant should be evicted. If the eviction is successful, the tenant will be required to vacate the rental property or face additional legal action.

5. File for an eviction order: After the hearing, the landlord may need to file for an eviction order in the local court for final confirmation.

What are the consequences of illegally evicting a tenant?

Illegally evicting a tenant carries serious consequences, including civil and criminal liabilities. Depending on the scope of the illegal activity, landlords and property owners may face fines, restitution or damages, criminal prosecution, and even jail time. In many cases, laws also provide for restrictions on eviction notices, landlord access to rental property, and termination of a tenancy, so landlords should thoroughly familiarize themselves with their state and local laws. In addition, illegally evicting a tenant may subject landlords to legal action from tenant’s groups, and/or reputation damage in the rental market.

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