The eviction process has many steps and can often be a lengthy process. It can be as confusing for the landlord who is filing the lawsuit as it is to the tenant who must respond to it. Having a property management company that is familiar with how the process works is a benefit to all parties involved.
Here’s a breakdown of how it works:
1. A 3-day notice can be served one day after the rent due date on any day, unless the rental agreement indicates that the rent due date cannot be a Saturday, Sunday or holiday.
2. There are three types of acceptable methods of service: Personal Service, Substituted Service and Post and Mail. The most desired method is for the tenant to be served in person (Personal Service).
A. Personal Service is served directly to the individual named on the notice.
B. Substituted Service is served to another individual at the property (can not be served to anyone under age 16). This type of service requires mailing of the notice also.
C. Posting and Mailing requires the notice to be attached to the front door of the residence and mailed.
D. The day of service is the day the notice is served or the day the notice is received if mailed, whichever is the later.
3. The tenant has 3 days, not including the day of service to pay the rent. The last day can not be a Saturday, Sunday or holiday. If it is, then you must add an additional non-weekend, non- holiday day as the last day. The eviction can be started the following day by filing a Summons & Complaint with the court.
4. The tenant has 5 days to file an Answer to the Complaint if he was served personally and an additional 10 days if he was served by Substituted or Post and Mail Service. The 5 days begin on the day after service, court holidays are excluded. The last day can not be Saturday, Sunday or a holiday. However, ALL tenants in eviction receive an Unlawful Detainer for “un-named” occupants by Substituted Service to prevent future problems. Thus, all properties have the 15 day waiting period for the tenant to file an answer no matter what.
5. If the tenant does not file an Answer, a Default Judgment is requested. If the tenant files an Answer, then a trial date is requested from the court.
6. When a Judgment is received, a Writ of Execution is given to the appropriate law enforcement agency. They will serve a 5-day Notice to Vacate (Tenant Lock-out) to the resident and will grant possession to the property owner on or after the date on the Notice.
What about the money the tenant owes? If the court’s Judgment included that the tenant owes the landlord any past due rent, the Judgment can be sent to a collection company after the tenant is evicted from the property.
However, after the tenant is out of the property, it may be determined that there is damage to the property not covered by the tenant’s security deposit. If that is the case, the owner of the property may decide to go to small claims court to get an additional Judgment against the tenant.