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Should Landlords Charge Overdue Tenants Legal & Court Costs?

Performance Property Real Estate Question

Q: Gerald, I recently evicted a tenant.  The tenant was months behind on rent and they really trashed the property.  Should I go after them for my legal and court costs? Philip, Huntington Valley, PA


A: Great question, Philip. In my view, charging delinquent tenants for legal and court costs first and foremost depends on whether you can legally charge for those costs where your property is located–landlord tenant laws vary widely from place to place so it’s your job to do the research to find that out.

Assuming you can legally charge delinquent tenants for legal and court costs, the decision to do it or not depends in my view on how much those costs are and how much it will realistically cost you to recoup those costs–if those costs aren’t much, then there isn’t much value in spending the time, money and energy trying to recoup them.

By the same token, even if the legal and court costs are high, if the cost to recoup them are high there may not be much upside to again spending the time, money and energy trying to recoup them. It really boils down to cost vs. benefit.

Thanks for your question, Philip. For more real estate information and tips visit my blog at geraldlucas.com.

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