Landlord-Tenant Law Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does a landlord evict a tenant?
A: First, the landlord serves the tenant written notice. If the tenant does not do what the notice asks, the landlord files an unlawful detainer in court when the notice period ends. If the judge agrees with the landlord or if the tenant does not answer the court papers, the court will order the sheriff to evict the tenant. If the judge agrees with the tenant, the tenant will get to stay.
Q: Can a landlord evict a tenant without filing an unlawful detainer?
A: No. It is against the law for landlords to evict tenants on their own. Even if the tenant is months behind on the rent.
Q: What if there is no written lease or rental agreement?
A: A lease or rental agreement does not need to be in writing to be valid. You can have an oral lease or agreement, just like you can have an oral contract.
Q: What does the tenant do after s/he gets the unlawful detainer court papers?
A: The tenant must file a response to the lawsuit with the court. The response has to be in proper legal form. It is not enough to call or write a letter to the landlord. It is also not enough to write a letter to the court.
Q: What happens if the tenant does not file any response?
A: If the tenant does not file a response within 5 days, the landlord can evict him/her without the tenant having a say in the case. This can affect the tenant's ability to rent in the future because an eviction will be on his/her credit record. If the landlord says the tenant owes money for back rent, and the tenant does not answer, the landlord may be able to take that money from the tenant's paycheck or bank account.
Q: How long does the unlawful detainer process take?
A: Usually about 30 days. The tenant has 5 days to file a response after being served with the landlord's lawsuit. Then, the clerk will schedule a trial within 20 days of the landlord's request. The trial normally takes one day.
Q: How many days does the tenant have to move out before the eviction?
A: The Sheriff usually gives the tenant about 5 days before evicting them.
To set up your consultation, contact Robinson Sookdeo Law.