Evictions are a burden on taxpayer resources

Evictions are a burden on taxpayer resources »Play Video
TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- Evicting a tenant is one of the most dreaded jobs of a landlord. And if someone doesn't leave, the sheriff's department has to step in.

KEPR learned this is happening less often in some parts of the Tri-Cities but more often in others. And when the Sheriff's Department gets involved, it takes their focus off time spent protecting you.

Jesse Hernandez has managed the Carriage Square Apartments in Pasco for more than two decades. He enjoys his job. But when people don't pay their rent, the stress piles on.

"If you see that the person is really trying, you know, you work with them, but then there's people that don't make an effort and that's when you say enough is enough, we're just gonna get the attorney involved," said Hernandez.

But an attorney can be expensive on top of other fees. If the Sheriff's Office is needed to carry out an eviction, the landlord has to pay for it.
Costing anywhere from one to three thousand dollars for a single eviction. It's why managers, like Jesse, try to work with tenants before taking it to the extreme.

The first step in Jesse's eviction process is handing out a three-day notice to pay or vacate. Residents receive them in their mailbox as well as posted on their door.

No response to the three-day notice means a 20-day notice is then given out.

"And if they don't respond to that, then we take the next step which is hiring an attorney," said Hernandez.

Cases involving an attorney are tracked by the Sheriff's Office. So far this year, there have been 30 evictions in Franklin County. Last year, there were 40 in the same time period. Sheriff Richard Lathim calls that an anomaly, but the evictions redirect his team from other duties.

"It takes away from deputies' time that they could be out answering calls and being proactive," said Sheriff Lathim.

Benton County's situation is a little bit different. Averaging one eviction every day and a half in 2012, through the end of May. The eviction rate increased for that same time period the last two years.

Jesse says his last eviction involving an attorney was a while ago. He opted to handle 13 on his own just this past month. Trying to keep down his expenses as well as the burden on taxpayer resources.