As a landlord or property manager, there may come a time when you have to make the difficult decision to evict a tenant if worst comes to worst. However, the eviction process can be extremely lengthy and not to mention mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. The alternate – cash for keys – comes with its own set of criticism. Here, we pitch cash for keys vs. eviction to identify which is better.
The Eviction Process
To evict a tenant, you will have to hire lawyers, file a lawsuit, present your case, and patiently wait for judgment. The process can take anywhere from around two weeks minimum to over a few months, and the timeline varies by State because the laws vary by State.
The eviction process will cost you a substantial amount of money. If you don’t have a property manager, you will also have to handle the legal procedure yourself, and it is a very emotionally taxing procedure.
Cash for Keys
A simpler, more straightforward alternative is cash for keys. Here you offer the tenant a sum of money to ask them to leave. You trade money for the keys to your rental property. The tenant signs a release form and moves out.
Understanding the Difference
Identifying which is better will depend on your personal preference and the resources available to you. Plus, all the steps and warning you’ve taken before reaching the point of deciding on eviction or cash for keys are also important.
If you have issued warning notices and given the tenant ample time to leave, you may be considering eviction. Why would you want to pay your tenant to leave, right? Eviction can cost you a lot more than cash for keys, both financially and mentally.
It can be very stressful, and the tenant can get a stay order if, at any point, you fail to prove that you’ve given ample notices or if they can prove they manage to create an emotional appeal. You may then find it very difficult to convince the judge to let you regain possession of your property anytime soon.
As we mentioned earlier, cash for keys comes with its own set of problems. How do you convince a bad tenant to move out of the property they’ve decided to live in. The process sounds simple, yes, but it isn’t. In fact, you may not even be able to convince the tenant to move out even for a substantial amount of money.
Which is Better?
Our vote lies with cash for keys. Once you enter the legal maze, it may be harder for you to find a way out. Imagine if the tenant gets a stay order, and you have to deal with them for a while more. Switching to cash for keys in such a situation will just cost you double the money.
Don’t get us wrong. Both processes cost you a lot financially. But you can save yourself the legal hassle by trying to persuade the tenant to take the cash and move out. No matter what route you take, make sure to change all the locks once they do, and revise your tenant screening process to avoid this hassle for life.