The District Court also handles matters involving Landlord/Tenant disputes, usually those involving eviction procedures such as nonpayment of rent or termination of tenancy.
Nonpayment of Rent
This action arises when rents are delinquent. Prior to initiating a lawsuit with the District Court, the Landlord must notify the Renter that the Landlord will seek the Court's intervention if the rent is not brought current.
This notification is done with a form called, "Demand for Possession" or "Notice to Quit". The form may be purchased at the District Court for $1.00. The Landlord must then server the renter with this notice. This may be done by mailing the notice to the Renter by First Class Mail, handing the notice to the Renter personally, or by certified mail. The Landlord must then give the Renter 7 days to pay the rent before initiating a lawsuit with the Court.
If the Landlord wishes to have the Renter evicted regardless of the rent status, the Landlord must first notify the Renter of the Landlord's intent with a form called "Notice to Quit - Terminate Tenancy". The Landlord must then server the Renter with this notice. This may be done by mailing the notice to the Renter, First Class Mail, handing the notice to the Renter personally, or by certified mail. The Landlord must then give the Renter 30 days to vacate the premises voluntarily before initializing a lawsuit with the Court.
Initiate a Lawsuit
After following one of the above steps, and after waiting the required number of days, the Landlord can now initiate a lawsuit. This is done by filing a Summons and Complaint with the Court. Again, these forms may be purchased at the court for $1.00 each.
When filing the Summons and Complaint with the Court, the Landlord must also bring to the Court the following items:
The orifinal and 3 copies of the Notice to Quit or Demand for Possession;
4 copies of the lease (if there is one); and,
a stamped envelope addressed to the Renter.
The Landlord will also be required to pay a filing fee of $45.00.
If the Landlord is seeking Supplemental Damages, (such damages may include but is not limited to: back rent, unpaid bills or damages to the premises) an additional filing is then required. The fee is based upon the amount of the damages being requested:
$000.00 - $600.00 additional fee of $25.00
$600/01 - $1,750.00 additional fee of $45.00
$1,750.01 - $10,000.00 additional fee of $65.00 and
$10,000.01 - $25,000.00 additional fee of $150.00
Once the Summons and Complaint has been delivered to the Court along with the required items listed above, and the filing fee has been collected, the Court Clerk will assign the matter a case number and a court date. The court date, as required by law, will be between 7 and 10 days from the date that that Summons and Complaint was filed.
The Renter must then be personally served by a Process Server. If you do not know a Process Server, you may locate one in the phone book. The Landlord cannot serve these papers on the renter.
If the Landlord (who is now the Plaintiff in the lawsuit) fails to appear on the scheduled court date, the Judge will dismiss the case.
If the Renter (who is now the Defendant in the lawsuit) fails to appear, then a Judgment will be entered against the Renter/Defendant in the amount of money claimed to be owing by the Landlord, plus court costs. A date will also be given (usually 10 days from the date of the Judgment) for the Renter/Defendant to vacate the premises.
After the Court hearing, should the Renter fail to move out as ordered by the Judge, the Landlord/Plaintiff, must file with the Court a form called "Writ of Restitution" or "Order of Eviction". There is a filing fee of $15.00 when this form is filed with the Court and also requires the Judge's signature.
Once the form is signed by the Judge, the Landlord must must pick a Court Officer from the Court's list of appointed Court Officers and that Court Officer will the authority to evict the Renter from the premises.
Again, these forms can be purchased at the Court for $1.00.
If you require special accommodations to use the court because of disabilities, please contact the court immediately to make arrangements.
THIS INFORMATION ATTEMPTS TO EXPLAIN ONLY THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE LANDLORD/TENANT DIVISION OF THE COURT. IT IS NOT A COMPLETE STATEMENT OF THE LAW. CLERKS OF THE COURT WILL BE HAPPY TO ASSIST YOU IN THE PROCESSING OF YOUR CLAIM, BUT THEY ARE NOT ATTORNEYS AND CANNOT GIVE OUT LEGAL ADVISE. IF YOU HAVE FURTHER QUESTIONS, YOU MAY WISH TO CONSULT AN ATTORNEY, OR HAVE AN ATTORNEY REPRESENT YOU.