If you're a property manager, owner, or tenant, you are probably aware of the meaning behind an eviction notice.

... and more importantly, the costly process.

While many associate eviction with rent issues, the reality is that there's more to it than meets the eye.

This guide will delve into the various expenses linked to eviction, with a particular focus on court fees.

By the end, you'll have a clearer picture of who bears these costs and why understanding them is essential.

The Eviction Process Explained

Sometimes evicting a tenant is inevitable, even with a thorough tenant screening process. An eviction is a complex and legally regulated procedure that involves several critical steps.

Understanding this process will give you a better understanding for the costs involved.

Step 1: Serving Notices

The eviction process typically commences with the landlord serving the tenant with a formal notice.

This notice informs the tenant of lease violations, such as non-payment of rent, lost rent, and provides a specific timeframe to rectify the issue or vacate the premises. The notice must comply with local and state laws, outlining the tenant's rights and responsibilities.

Step 2: Filing an Eviction Lawsuit

If the tenant fails to comply with the notice, the next step is for the landlord to file an eviction lawsuit in the appropriate court.

This initiates a legal proceeding in which both parties will present their cases before a judge.

Step 3: Court Proceedings

Once in court, the eviction case will go through a series of legal proceedings, including hearings and potential mediation.

These proceedings are designed to ensure that the eviction is carried out in compliance with the law.

We highly advise hiring legal counsel during this phase to protect the interests of both landlords and tenants.

Step 4: Judgment and Tenant Removal

If the court rules in favor of the landlord, a judgment for eviction will be issued.

This judgment authorizes law enforcement, typically the sheriff's office, to physically remove the tenant from the property.

The eviction is then executed, and the tenant is required to vacate the premises.

The Legal Aspects

The eviction process is not just a matter of landlord-tenant disputes; it's a legal process with defined rules and regulations, and in some cases, hefty attorney fees.

Violating these legal procedures can lead to complications, lawsuits, or even fines for landlords. On the other hand, tenants have rights that must be upheld throughout the eviction process.

In the following sections of this guide, we will break down the costs associated with each step of the eviction process, including court fees, legal representation costs, and other expenses that property managers and tenants may encounter.

The Eviction Process Explained

Eviction Fees

Now that we clearly understand the necessary process to evict a tenant, let's dive into the various costs that can accumulate during this often challenging journey.

The average cost of an eviction in Florida can range from $275 to $556 without throwing attorney fees in the mix. Here's a detailed breakdown of the expenses associated with eviction:

1. Initial Court Filing Fees

Court fees are an essential part of the eviction process.

When a landlord files an eviction lawsuit, there are fees associated with initiating the case.

These fees cover the administrative costs of the court proceedings, including filing the necessary paperwork and scheduling hearings.

In the city of Miami-Dade County, the initial court filing fee is $185.

2. Sheriff and Law Enforcement Fees

When an eviction judgment is granted, law enforcement, often a sheriff or constable, is responsible for executing the eviction and involves a few fees:

This involves physically removing the tenant from the property. Law enforcement agencies typically charge fees for their services, which can vary depending on your jurisdiction.

3. Additional Fees

Beware that some jurisdictions may have specific fees or requirements that are unique to that area.

These could include local court fees, tenant relocation assistance fees, or other regional expenses.

If the landlord or tenant wins unjustifiably, a Notice of Appeal must be filed, which will be an additional $281.

The Eviction Process Explained

Eviction Service Costs

While many landlords and tenants may choose to handle eviction themselves or with legal representation, another option exists: hiring professionals to manage the eviction process.

This is where the concept of "eviction service cost" comes into play. Eviction service providers specialize in handling all aspects of the eviction, from serving notices to tenant removal.

While this can add to the overall cost of eviction, it can also save time and reduce stress for those involved.

In the next section, we'll address the critical question of who bears the court fees in eviction cases.

Who Pays Court Fees in Eviction

One of the most pressing questions when it comes to eviction costs is, "Who bears the burden of paying the eviction fee?"

The answer to this question is not a one-size-fits-all, as it varies depending on several factors, including your jurisdiction and the terms outlined in lease agreements.

Jurisdictional Variations

Court fees in eviction cases are subject to local and state laws, and these laws can differ significantly from one jurisdiction to another.

In some areas, the landlord may be responsible for covering the entirety of the court fees, while in others, the tenant may be required to pay a portion or even all of these costs.

Lease Agreement Influence

Lease agreements can also play a significant role in determining who pays court fees.

Some lease agreements explicitly state that the tenant is responsible for any legal fees incurred in an eviction, including court costs.

Conversely, other lease agreements may have the landlord cover these expenses.

When Do Landlords Typically Pay Court Fees?

  • Lease Agreement Stipulations: If the lease agreement explicitly states that the landlord is responsible for court fees, then the landlord is legally obligated to pay these costs.
  • Tenant Victories: In some cases, if the tenant prevails in the eviction case, the court may order the landlord to cover court fees as part of the judgment.

When Are Tenants Responsible?

  • Lease Agreement Terms: If the lease agreement clearly stipulates that the tenant is responsible for court fees in the event of an eviction, then the tenant will be expected to cover these costs.
  • Tenant Lease Violations: If the eviction results from lease violations or actions taken by a bad tenant, such as missed rent payments or damaging the property, the court may order the tenant to pay court fees as part of the judgment in addition to other fees, such as property repairs, cleaning fees, etc.

Regardless of who pays these fees, they can add a significant financial burden to the eviction process, making it essential for both landlords and tenants to be financially prepared.

In the upcoming sections, we will explore additional eviction costs beyond court fees and provide insights into strategies for managing and potentially reducing these expenses.

Legal Representation Costs

Legal representation plays a pivotal role for both landlords and tenants when it comes to evictions.

This section delves into the significance of legal counsel, how legal fees can contribute to the overall cost of eviction, and offers valuable tips on securing cost-effective legal assistance.

Importance of Legal Representation

Legal representation is often considered a necessity during eviction cases due to the complex legal nature of these proceedings. Here's why it's crucial for both parties:

For Landlords

Eviction laws can be intricate, and a seasoned attorney can help landlords understand their rights and obligations, ensuring they adhere to the law throughout the process.

Legal representation can also safeguard the landlord's property and financial interests by advocating for the swift resolution of the case and, when necessary, pursuing damages or compensation for unpaid rent.

For Tenants

A tenant facing eviction should have someone who can protect their rights, challenge unjust eviction attempts, and negotiate for fair terms or alternative resolutions.

Additionally, legal representation provides tenants access to professionals who understand tenant rights and can ensure they are upheld during eviction, especially if the tenant has upheld their end of the contract and their responsibility to pay rent.

Adding to the Overall Cost of Eviction

While legal representation can be immensely beneficial, it also adds to the overall cost of eviction.

Legal fees can vary widely depending on factors like the attorney's experience, the case's complexity, and geographic location. Here are a few aspects to consider:

  • Hourly Rates: Many attorneys charge by the hour, and the time spent on your case can accumulate quickly, especially in protracted eviction proceedings.
  • Flat Fees: Some lawyers offer flat-fee services for specific stages of the eviction process, such as filing paperwork or representing you in court. These can provide cost predictability.
  • Retainers: Lawyers often require clients to pay a retainer upfront, which is a lump sum from which they deduct fees as they accrue. Ensure you understand how the retainer works.

Tips for Finding Affordable Legal Assistance

Securing affordable legal representation is essential, and here are some strategies to help you manage legal costs:

Shop Around

Obtain quotes from multiple attorneys or law firms to compare rates and services. This allows you to find the best fit for your budget.

Pro Bono Services

Explore legal aid societies and organizations that offer pro bono (free) legal services to those who meet income eligibility criteria, specially if tenant files an appeal for said eviction.

Legal Clinics

Law schools often have legal clinics staffed by law students and supervised by professors. These clinics can provide cost-effective legal help.

Payment Plans

Inquire about payment plans or flexible payment arrangements with your attorney to spread the cost over time.

The Complex World of Evictions

In conclusion, evictions are challenging and require careful planning and consideration of all their associated costs. By being well-informed and making strategic choices, you can mitigate some of the financial burdens and navigate this process more confidently.

We understand how difficult evictions are to navigate, which is why DoorLoop has a plethora of eviction resources for every state!

Want to learn more about DoorLoop? Schedule a free demo today to see what it can do for you!

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!