Apr 26, 2020
How much do attorneys charge for evictions?
The overall eviction costs depends on the facts, and the attorney’s approach.
An experienced and ethical attorney, should first try to negotiate a successful eviction through pre-court mediation.
This can be done if the attorney can persuade the tenant to leave voluntarily.
An experienced eviction lawyer needs to highlight to the tenant, the costs of not leaving, versus the benefits of exiting voluntarily.
A skilled negotiator can settle most legal matters out of court.
In our experience, one should first try and spend 2 billable hours on mediation, before going to court.
So that no time is wasted during this phase, an eviction attorney should, at the same time, draft and send the pre-court legal notifications i.e. eviction notices aka letters of demand.
This will ensure that any mediation strategy is done in parallel with the technical pre-court legal steps.
One should realistically budget around R2000 x 2 hours for this approach.
However, some tenants or occupiers, may be totally unreasonable, or desperate with no where else to go.
In these extreme cases, the formal court process must be pursued, and negotiations continue in parallel. After all, in these cases, government needs to get involved to provide alternative accommodation.
Any general eviction takes at least 2 to 3 months, costing upwards of R15 000 excl VAT and expenses.
This is if the tenant/occupier does not oppose the process, or interfere with its progression in any way.
Often a tenant will wait till the final court date to appear and ask for a chance to get a lawyer and oppose it.
While this is against the court rules, courts allow the postponement, because of the important constitutional rights at play i.e. a tenant’s right to legal representation and adequate housing.
To best prevent a tenant from delaying the process, and causing a landlord further losses, it is highly advisable to appoint an eviction specialist right from the beginning.
Like any operation, if one tries to do it oneself, there are pros and cons; except, in the context of evictions, mistakes can cause long delays.
An opposed eviction can cost upwards of R50 000.
The best advice is to appoint, from the start, an experienced eviction lawyer, who is also a skilled negotiator and strategist.
At SD Law, we offer clients help with the eviction process, and strive to achieve the most practical and cost effective outcome, by being strategic.
Contact Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you want to know more about how we can help you successfully navigate your eviction issue.