Filing for Tenant Eviction
We previously mentioned an eviction process which could begin once proper documentation has been prepared. These eviction documents include lease violation notices and other important correspondences.
In some cases, tenants may respond and voluntarily work with the landlord to address their lease violations in order to avoid eviction. However, when tenants do not respond within a required period of time, the landlord is entitled to proceed with an unlawful detainer process.
The Unlawful Detainer Process
You will need the following to file for an Unlawful Detainer and Eviction.
- A copy of the eviction notice and proof of service
- A copy of the lease agreement, house rules, and addenda
- A copy of tenant ledger and other relevant correspondences
Before sending all the documentation to your attorney for action, ensure all names, dates, and other critical information are accurate and complete. Your attorney will then file a Summons and Complaint at Superior Court.
The Summons and Complaint
The purpose of filing a Summons is to inform the tenant that you are required to go to court. This is because the landlord is taking legal action against him/her while the Complaint describes the facts about the offense.
The Summons and Complaint is served by a process server. The tenants will have time to file an “answer” to request a hearing on the case. If they can’t be served personally, an alternate form of service will need to be performed while the tenants will have additional time to respond.
If the tenants do not respond within the required timeframe, the landlord is entitled to obtain a Default of Judgment by filing a Request for Entry of Default along with a request for a clerk to enter a Judgment for Possession and issue a Writ of Possession.
As always, time is of the essence and any errors on the documents will result in the court rejecting the documents. Then the landlord will need to restart the case from the beginning.
The Writ of Execution
When the Writ of Execution for possession is issued, the sheriff will prepare the eviction notice and contact the landlord of the date of the lockout. At the lockout day, the landlord should be prepared to change locks in front of the sheriff. Remaining possessions in the unit should be kept for 15 days before abandoning them.
On the other hand, if the tenants answer or file another type of response such as they may claim that the Summons and Complaint were not served properly. In this situation, the court will set a date of hearing. After all parties file responses, the court can set a trial date. This is common that the property manager and their supervisor (if any) will attend the hearing.
Tenant and Landlord Resolutions – to Avoid Eviction
Additionally, there is also an opportunity for all parties to reach the stipulated agreement at the settlement hearing. For instance, waiving the tenant’s outstanding balance and giving the tenant additional time to move out is one of the typical stipulated agreements for non-payment of rent case.
The Eviction process is always time-consuming and complicated. It is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney before you start the eviction process.
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