Charleston has eviction rates that are higher than the national average, and that’s partly due to South Carolina’s very landlord-friendly laws. Many of the local rental property owners here evict frequently and usually for nonpayment of rent.
When you have a tenant who isn’t paying rent, tenant eviction may be your only option. However, we strongly encourage you to look for alternatives so you can save yourself the time, money, and hassle of an eviction. While South Carolina does have landlord-friendly evictions, you still have to follow the legal process to the letter. If you don’t, you may lose your case or have to start over, which will only prolong the time it takes to remove your nonpaying tenant.
Charleston Evictions: Timeframes and Costs
Generally, the eviction process takes between 45 and 60 days. This is a long time not to be collecting rent on your property, and if you’re finally evicting after your tenant hasn’t paid for a month or two, you’re looking at a large financial loss. For owners, the cost is often between $500 and $2,500, depending on the court process, the tenant’s response, and the current situation you find yourself in.
If you’re not already working with a professional property management company, this would be a great time for you to get some advice. Property managers understand the court process, the paperwork that must be filed, and the expectations of the judge and the courts. We also understand how to prevent evictions.
Consider a Cash for Keys Program
If you want to avoid evictions, consider offering cash for keys. This is where you offer your tenants a couple of hundred dollars to hand over the keys and move out of your property. This may seem counter-intuitive. After all, these tenants are behind in rent – why would you give them money?
You have to consider that they’re probably not paying rent because they don’t have the money to pay it. So, you’re in a situation where they’re never going to catch up. You can either go through the eviction process, which means waiting for up to two months, or you can get them out of the property quickly so you can turn the property over and find new tenants who will pay your rent. You’ll actually save yourself some money by paying your current tenants $200 or $300 to leave immediately and to ensure the property is in good condition before they go. Everyone wins – they avoid an eviction and you avoid the additional time and money lost.
Limit Your Eviction Risk
The best way to handle an eviction is to avoid it.
A good screening process will help you place tenants who have a record of paying rent on time. Make sure you talk to former landlords and get an idea of how they behaved. If you’re working with a property management company, they should have protections in place that keep you out of court. A good property manager will offer eviction programs that remove some or all of the cost and liability from the property owner.
If you have any questions about evictions and how to avoid them, please contact us at Charleston Home Rentals. We’d be happy to tell you more.