Denver landlords describe eviction from their perspectives — and suggest how to avoid it

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The Denver skyline and the 'burbs. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  residential real estate; skyline; cityscape; denver; denverite; colorado; winter; kevinjbeaty;

The Denver skyline and the 'burbs. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Last week, I wrote about the effects of evictions as observed by housing advocates. But as one reader pointed out, that failed to acknowledge the effects of evictions from the landlord’s perspective.

Charlie Hogan, chief operating officer of Cornerstone Properties, and Kim Helton, chief operating officer of Echo Summit Property Management shared what the costs of evictions are from the other side of the fence.

The cost of eviction

“You have the hard cost, which is the attorney’s fees, the processing of that paperwork. Plus, there’s the hard cost of the eviction itself — paying staff or employees or the sheriff’s department with the physical eviction, removing items from the unit if there are some. …

“But more importantly, it’s the vacancy loss. Now you have a resident who hasn’t paid rent, say for 30 days and now they’re being evicted. That eviction process doesn’t happen overnight, you put in notice to your attorneys that this resident hasn’t paid rent, they set a court date which could be three weeks down the road, depending on how busy they are, then once they go to court and are found guilty, they have to schedule that eviction with the city and that can take upwards of two weeks depending on how busy they are.

“And this entire time, that resident is still in the unit potentially, living there rent-free and not paying money, plus you’re not collecting money. It can cost up to $5,000 for eviction.”

– Charlie Hogan, COO of Cornerstone Apartments

“Expense-wise, evictions are a lot of upfront costs that landlords may never see. And it’s stressful because no matter what kind of money they make, to have that large of an expense that can be anywhere from $207 to up to $3,000 or $4,000 and they may only have only a couple hundred dollars as a security deposit.”

– Kim Helton, chief operating officer of Echo Summit Property Management

Where evictions are happening in Denver

“Capitol Hill and these central neighborhoods have changed significantly over the past 12 years that I’ve been here. They’re different from a demographic standpoint and just quality of urban living experience.

“As these markets become more and more desirable, obviously rents go up with that, quality of living tends to go up — you see more renovated units, more construction. What that does it that it forces that renter who used to be able to afford to live in that central market, it forces them out to sub-markets — Hale, Glendale, Lakewood, Arvada, Littleton — because the rents are lower because the proximity to downtown is further and that is where you’ll see more evictions.”

– Hogan, Cornerstone Apartments

What’s a solution to the problem of evictions?

“Payment plans. I don’t know how often other companies do them or how they do them, but I find it simpler to save a resident than to evict a resident. There are some people who will lie to you — their mother has been in the hospital 20 times or has been killed 20 times — you know they’re playing games with you. ..  I think to solve the eviction problem, you ought to work out more agreements without having someone default. If I can help the renter reestablish themselves, it’s a win-win situation, I don’t have to remarket the home and they stay.”

– Helton, Echo Summit Property Management

Advice to renters who are struggling

“One of my biggest frustrations is the pride factor. So many residents don’t call, don’t ask for help, don’t do anything but ignore it. Then they’ll come to me on the 21st in court, in tears, wanting me now to help and the owner says ‘To heck with you. You’ve not cared about me in these past 22 days, why should I care about you now?’

“You have people who are so afraid to ask for help and it makes it harder on them. … I tell people, look, there’s no horns on my head. If you don’t communicate to me that you need to help and allow me the chance to give you your options, you’re hurting yourself more than you’re hurting me, because I’ll evict you.

“You never know what your property manager or landlord could do for you. Don’t wait, come to them before it’s too late.”

– Helton, Echo Summit Property Management