Finding a Good Eviction Attorney

Author: Todd Christiansen | Category: Eviction Law

Many years ago when I started as a landlord, I was amazed to find that most knowledge around owning investment properties is learned. Very few books really exist on the topic or when they do, they really don’t give you the entire picture of how to manage tenants and the property. Plus, the information out there was often from different parts of the country or they were renting different types of buildings that I owned.  I muddled through learning along the way.  Making mistakes and learning from them.

I found that most landlords do a great job of accumulating contacts in the various aspects of owning investment properties.  They have plumbers, mortgage guys, painters, and CPAs to name a few.  These are contractors that will use to maintain your properties.  I was rolling along fine it happened.  A tenant stopped paying her rent.  I eviction advice.  Unfortunately, I found that there was very little information out there on how to do an eviction, there were zero resources on the internet for me in Minnesota, and even the court website was pretty bad.  In fact, I didn’t know anyone that had done an eviction.

When it it is time to do your first eviction, you may want to consider hiring an eviction attorney.  This person will go through and do all the work for you, but ask them to include you in the process (you are paying them, so they should be willing to do this).  If your jurisdiction requires a tenant eviction letter, have the attorney give you a copy once it is sent.  Whether you do the eviction yourself or hire a lawyer, make sure to save copies of everything so that you have something to refer to later when you have to do your next eviction.  Filling out that printable eviction notice will always be confusing if you don’t have a reference to look back at.

So how do you find a good eviction attorney?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Go down to the courthouse on a day that other eviction proceedings are happening and see if there are any eviction attorneys working on that day.  They will typically be wearing the usual attorney attire which is a business suit (which will look out of place amongst the landlords and tenants in the room).  Do not expect to discuss your case with them as they are currently working for (and being paid by the hour for) someone else.  Simply get their card and then ask how many evictions they do per month.  Reconnect with them on the phone at a later date.
  • Call a larger, local property manager in your area.  See what eviction attorney they could recommend.  You are unlikely a competitor so they will probably be willing to help you.
  • Contact a local Realtor that sells investment properties.  Do they have a recommendation of a good eviction lawyer?
  • Google evictions attorney [insert your state name here] to find some.

Once you find some attorneys to speak to, put together a list of questions to ask them.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Do you work on an hourly basis or a flat fee?  Since the eviction process is actually pretty routine, your attorney should do the eviction for a flat fee.  This will save you money.
  • Will you be the person doing all the work or do you have paralegals that file the paperwork?  Much of the eviction process is simple administrative work that can be handled by a less expensive administrative person or paralegal.
  • How many evictions do you process in a month?
  • How quickly can you get the eviction notice form filed and get into court and subsequently get these tenants out of my property?
  • Do I need to appear in court or will you handle the entire process?
  • Are most of your clients large property managers or do you also work with small landlords that own 1-2 rental properties?

It is very important to be a on a first name basis with a good eviction attorney.  This will be an invaluable relationship that you will use and come to rely on over the years of owning rental properties.

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