My firm represents both landlords and tenants in Unlawful Detainer Matters.
If you are a landlord and are needing to evict a tenant, my office can assist you in:
1. Drafting and serving the proper Eviction Notice.
2. Negotiate with the tenant to leave prior to initiating the lawsuit.
3. Draft and file with the Court the Summons and Complaint that initiates the lawsuit.
4. Serve the tenant with the lawsuit.
5. Attend Court appointed Mediation if applicable (depends on the County).
6. Represent your interests at Trial.
7. Provide the Writ of Possession to the Sheriff’s Department.
8. post-Trial Court filings.
9. Collections if applicable.
Unlawful Detainer matters are billed hourly, and a deposit of $3,500.00 is required to commence the process. If the matter resolves prior to involvement of the Sheriff’s department that amount is usually sufficient.
My firm only represents landlords that are willing to attempt mediation if it is offered by the Court. Though frequently cases do go to trial, it is usually in the client’s best interest to informally negotiate a resolution or resolve matters at Court appointed Mediation. There are terms beneficial to the landlord that can be added to a settlement agreement Stipulated Judgment, which cannot be added to a judgment after trial.
Landlord Complaint for Damages
If you want to sue your tenant for damages to the property, unless you required your tenant to have renter's insurance, that is typically done in Small Claims Court. If the damages are substantially more than $10,000.00 and known that the tenant has economic means to pay off a judgement, then litigation may be discussed.
If you are being evicted for non-payment of rent, my office cannot assist you.
Otherwise, if you have been served with an eviction notice, my office can make recommendations as to how to resolve with the landlord. In short, it's to move out as soon as you are able and try to work with your landlord as to a reasonable time to move out. The reason being is that once a tenant has been served with an eviction notice, the business relationship between the landlord and tenant in most cases is not repairable. The tenant is probably better off moving on to a new rental.
If you have been served with an Unlawful Detainer lawsuit, you need to contact an attorney immediately, as you only have 5 business days to file an Answer. If you don’t file within 5 days, you risk losing by default.
My office can prepare and file the Answer to the Complaint, and if applicable, but rare, a Demurrer or Motion to Strike. Once the Answer is filed the Landlord’s attorney will file a Request for Trial, and the trial will usually occur within 1 to 3 weeks.
The trial is quick, and usually takes less than an hour. If you prevail at trial, usually because the landlord’s eviction notice was improper or the eviction was done in bad faith, then the tenant gets to stay at the property, but must pay the back owed rent immediately.
If the landlord procedurally complied with the eviction process and the eviction was not in bad faith, the landlord will probably prevail, and within a week or two the tenant will be evicted by the Sheriff’s deputy. A post-trial motion may be filed giving you additional time to move out if you can prove a hardship and pay back owed rent. The tenant will have a judgment on their record which will make it more difficult to find a new rental and impact their credit rating.
The outcome at trial is never certain, even if you believe there is no chance you could lose, so it is best to attempt mediation if it is offered by the Court. My office only represents tenants that are willing to attempt mediation.
My office works on an hourly basis and requires a deposit of $1,500.00 to $3,500.00 depending upon the complexity of the matter and the number of defendants listed on the Summons.
Some matters we will represent tenants Pro-Bono (free), so long as the client pays the Court Costs (usually around $500). Generally, my office will only take matters pro-bono if you are low-income, you are NOT being evicted for non-payment of rent, and the landlord is making unreasonable settlement demands which necessitate a trial.