Tenant Evictions

Tenant Evictions: What to Know

An eviction can be sought against a tenant for a number of reasons.

The most common reason for an eviction case is nonpayment of rent. Other reasons for an eviction include violation of some other lease term or certain types of criminal activity.

A tenant facing an eviction based on a contention that he or she is involved in some sort of criminal activity may face problems beyond an eviction proceeding. An individual in this position may also end up arrested and in need of a bail bond professional.

When the court sets a bail amount in a criminal case, a person being held in jail can reach out to a bail bond professional. In a nutshell, if a bail bond professional decides to take a case, a bail bond company actually puts up the court-ordered bond money in a criminal case. The person in jail pays a percentage of the bond amount to the bond company. Typically the amount paid by an arrested person to a bail bond company is between 10 and 15 percent of the overall bond amount.

Notice to Cure or Quit

The eviction process commences with the service on a tenant of what generally is called a notice to cure or quit. The notice provides a tenant a specific amount of time to correct a violation of a lease term, or some other issue, or to vacate the premises. Nonpayment of rent is a prime example of when a landlord issues a notice to cure or quit.

Each state has its own landlord and tenant law. These individual state laws dictate the manner in which a notice to cure or quit is to be prepared and served on a tenant. In addition, each state law includes a provision for the timeframe in which a notice to cure or quit provides a tenant to resolve an issue or vacate the premises. Typically, in a situation involving nonpayment of rent, a tenant is provided with three days to correct the problem or vacate the premises.

Eviction Court Case

If the tenant does not comply with the notice to cure or quit in any manner, a landlord must pursue a court case to obtain a judgment to force the tenant out of the rental property. The court order that removes the tenant from the rental property oftentimes is called a writ of assistance or a writ of restitution.

The court process begins when the landlord files a petition or complaint in the appropriate court. Typically, the court sets a date by which the tenant must respond to the petition or complaint. The tenant has the right to request a trial.

If a trial is requested by the tenant, a second court date is set by the court. This typically constitutes the final court date in an eviction case.

Both the landlord and tenant can present evidence to the court. The court considers the evidence and then makes a final decision in the case. It is at this juncture that the court issues what is either called a writ of assistance or writ or restitution.

Legal Representation

A tenant facing an eviction may have valid defenses to the action by the landlord. If that is the case, a tenant best protects his or her rights and interests by retaining the services of a skilled, experienced landlord and tenant attorney. The process of retaining legal representation commences with scheduling an initial consultation between a lawyer and prospective client.

During the initial consultation, legal counsel provides an evaluation of an eviction case. This can include a discussion of possible strategies to defend a tenant in an eviction case. As a general rule, a landlord and tenant lawyer does not charge an attorney fee for an initial consultation with a tenant in an eviction case.

A landlord seeking to oust a tenant should also give serious consideration to retaining an experienced attorney if an eviction ends up in a court case. An experienced landlord and tenant lawyer can also best protect the rights and interests of a landlord interested in removing a tenant from rental property.

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