Filing a Claim in the Landlord-Tenant Court
The standard case in this court is through the landlord because he or she needs to evict the tenant for some reason. The tenant may use the court for issues such as violations of the landlord and tenant agreement or the rental agreement. However, the landlord usually has a valid claim when the tenant may only sometimes have a valid claim. Many that live in the units will violate the terms of the agreement by housing pets, not paying rent or destroying the property in some manner. This can lead to the landlord’s need to evict.
Reasons for the Landlord to File a Case
Often, the landlord will need to file a case with the court because the tenant does not pay rent or has not for multiple months. The tenant may also pay the rent late every single month for over a year. Some tenants will cause damage to the unit that the landlord discovers through a valid inspection. A disruption of services, disruption with other tenants or when police are necessary on the property because of something the tenant has done can all lead to valid reasons for eviction. Drug-related offenses, criminal violations and violations of the lease or rental agreement can also lead to valid cases.
Generally, the landlord will try to resolve the matter with the tenant because it costs more to release this person from the rental agreement and then take the individual to court even if the landlord is successful in acquiring all damages involved in the process. The tenant may have a conviction of drug-related violations and not have any possibility of returning to the unit. Another tenant may break the rental agreement in one or more ways. If the tenant is a serious disruption to the building or the surrounding units, it can also lead to problems for the landlord that may lead to local law enforcement involvement.
Before the Court Involvement
The landlord usually must follow certain guidelines and rules before seeking the assistance of the landlord and tenant court. This usually starts with sending a notice of eviction or a notice of quit which usually happens before the letter involving eviction. This is similar to a cease and desist letter that prompts the tenant to either pay unpaid rent or to stop the other activity that is causing problems. This notice is usually just before an eviction letter that can require forcible removal from the unit with police if the tenant is not agreeable or is disruptive after the notice.
The Court and the Case
Most landlords will need a lawyer to present the case. However, some that own the property solely can represent themselves. The landlord or tenant needs to file a complaint with the court and fill out the paperwork. Forms are available online and in person. This process requires standard information along with the exact details of the complaint. Then, there is a court date. The person that files the complaint will need to prepare evidence for the case and present it through a lawyer in the court. The court will need to make a decision about who is in the right and what to do about it.
Mediation is possible before starting the court case so that the two parties can come to an amenable understanding. However, mediation may not end with a binding agreement or a compromise that is suitable to both parties. If both landlord and tenant are in agreement to resolve the matter, they can discuss the issue and resolve it before going to court. However, if the court takes the case, they go before a judge. This court authority will examine all evidence and then rule in favor of one person or the other.
The Importance of a Lawyer in the Landlord-Tenant Court
To present the case appropriately and to give an argument for the client, the landlord will need a lawyer to explain the details. The legal professional will explain the evidence and how it requires an eviction and damages awarded to the landlord of the issues that the tenant caused during the rental time.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. To discuss the details and understand your situation better, call our office at (561) 838-9595.