Eviction and Unlawful Detainer

There are many reasons that a landlord may have for evicting a tenant. If the tenant has missed too many rent payments in a row and shows no ability or will to make up the shortfall in a timely manner, the property owner can move to evict them. If the tenant is committing other breaches of lease, such as hosting pets or other persons who are not authorized to reside on the premises, they are likewise subject to eviction. If the tenant is engaging in illegal activity, such as prostitution or the selling of drugs, while living at the property, the landlord can move to evict them.

The Link Between Eviction and Unlawful Detainer is Defined by the Law

When the owner of the property makes a move to evict a tenant for engaging in any of the above listed activities, this is known as an unlawful detainer action. The landlord is making a legal motion to enforce the proposition that a certain person or persons has access to a rental property and is using that access to engage in illegal or criminal activity. To make the charges stick, the landlord will be expected to provide solid proof that such illegal activities are actually taking place.

Even if there is no actual criminal activity involved, the person named in the suit is still in default of either their rent or has failed to abide by the terms of the lease in some other manner. As a result of this default, the owner of the property now seeks to evict this tenant with the knowledge and assistance of the court. This is the beginning of the eviction and unlawful detainer process.

How Does the Eviction and Unlawful Detainer Process Work?

The landlord must first file an official petition with the court and pay a small fee, after which the tenant must be served with the official documents that have been filed. An unlawful detainer action is purposely designed to move quickly through the court system. However, if you are the tenant who is named in the action, you still have certain rights that must be respected. For example, in some jurisdictions, after being served with the papers, you have the right to ask that the case be tried in front of a jury. In this case, it would then be up to a jury to decide if the eviction is legitimate.

Once the Paperwork Has Been Filed, What Happens Next?

Once the paperwork for unlawful detainer has been filed, a time for the official court hearing will be scheduled. Once you receive documents from the court, you will be required to make an official reply. If this reply is not received by a certain time, the case will be decided by default in favor of the property owner. In some areas, a hearing on the charges may be required. If you do not attend this hearing, the case will be decided in favor of the landlord. You and your landlord are required to attend this hearing so that the court can determine the merits of the case and make a ruling.

What Happens If the Case is Decided in Favor of Your Landlord?

If the case should be decided in favor of the owner of the property, they will normally receive a judgment for the amount of money you owe them for rent. This amount will be supplemented by an additional judgment for court costs and attorney fees, all of which you are liable to reimburse the landlord for out of your own pocket. The property owner will also be granted a writ of legal possession for the premises in question.

The court will usually wait a few days to issue the writ. This is done in order to give you a sufficient amount of time to exit the premises. Once the writ is issued, it will be executed by local police in order to make sure that the tenant is no longer on the premises. Once this is certain, the landlord will have full legal possession of the property.