Eviction Process Tips

Author: Todd Christiansen | Category: Eviction

In my travels and the numerous times I have been to court, I have learned some tricks and tips that can save you some time, money and frustration in dealing with evictions.  Here are just a few:

  • If you have an emotional attachment to the tenant and it took you more than a month to decide to evict this person, you should NOT be the one in court.  As landlords, all of us do it, you will make a bad decision and give up time, money or rights in court because you feel sorry for the tenant or you just like them.  Have an attorney or another landlord represent you in court that day.  Just be available by phone and let them be the bad guy. The attorney will cost you a couple hundred dollars, pay the other landlord with a steak dinner or reciprocate and do an eviction for him (check for power of attorney requirements).
  • Most courts allow the use of Jane Doe and John Doe on your eviction notice forms.  While you may know the names of everyone living at the property, this can be a good habit so that no random person claims that they live there and since they were not named on the eviction, they could make a case that you can’t get rid of them.  Plus, if you are using Jane and John Doe, you can serve anyone that answers the door (check with your local laws).
  • Consider using a court mediator if your relationship with the tenant has broken down.  Do beware that most often the mediators will tend to side with the tenants.  They are not your friend or counsel.  Use them only to be a neutral 3rd party.  If you feel like the mediator is bullying you, ask for a different one or refuse to mediate any longer.
  • Many tenants will think that they have some big legal defense against your eviction filing.  They will often want to speak to a free legal-aid eviction lawyer that is often available at court.  Don’t be concerned (unless you are really are doing something shady).  I have found the attorney is often reasonable and does see both sides of the argument.  Again, they are working for the tenant, so don’t let them bully you.
  • When you are in front of the judge, use your best manners and behavior.  I have seen more cases lost by parties that argue with the judge.  Never talk when the judge is talking and refrain from arguing with the tenant in front of the judge.  Take it out in the hallway if you need to discuss something.

These are just some things I have learned over the years with the hundreds of evictions that I have done.

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