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In a Nutshell: Eviction for Non-Payment of Rent

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While there are several reasons a landlord might seek to evict a tenant, non-payment of rent is the most common. In this blog, we will discuss the process the evicting a tenant for non-payment of rent.

When a tenant does not pay rent on time, the first step in the eviction process is to post a notice at the property demanding the tenant pay rent within 3-days or vacate the premises. This notice must accurately detail the exact amount of monies owed and be posted by a process server along with a request for a return of service. Additionally, the notice must contain specific formalities that, if left out, could lead to a dismissal of the claim.

After the posting of the 3-day notice, the tenant must respond within the allotted timeframe. If they make their payment, the eviction action can no longer continue. If the tenant fails to make their payment, however, the landlord can file a complaint for eviction in the county court where the property resides.

Upon the filing of the complaint, the tenants must be legally notified of this complaint (through posting or personal service). The tenant will have 5-days from the date they receive the notification to make their payment and file an official answer to the complaint. Failure to do both actions may cause the tenant to submit to a default judgment of eviction (in favor of the landlord).

Rather than answer the complaint, the tenant has the right to file a “Motion to Determine Rent”. This motion establishes a claim that states the amount of owed monies is incorrect. In response to this motion, the court usually sets a hearing date for both parties to present their evidence to prove whether the tenant owes rent or not.

Whether the tenant deposits their payment with the court or files the Motion to Determine Rent, they are required to place the alleged rent amount in they court registry to proceed with a trial. This is because the court will not hear a rent dispute case unless the tenant places the exact amount with the court registry.

Helping You Establish Eviction Orders

The only way to ensure a smooth eviction process is to hire a lawyer with extensive experience in evictions. If a tenant seeks counsel that ends up in the dismissal of an eviction action, the landlord may be liable for the tenant’s attorney fees. However, a tenant is usually not responsible for the landlord’s attorney fees if the court accepts the eviction action.

Don’t take a chance by seeking legal action on your own. Contact our office online or call us at (239) 970-6844 to speak with our real estate lawyers.