Eviction Court Judges Give Tips for Successful Court Appearances
Bring your entire leasing file and history to the courtroom. Bring the lease copy, payment record, photos of the property. Don't assume the judge knows anything about your case, the tenants, the property...nothing! These documents could answer a very important question that you may not even be aware the judge is thinking about.
Getting possession of the property should be your ONLY GOAL! Do not try to get more money from late rents, court fess, travel expenses, etc. Just try to get possession of the property back from the tenant. The judges are ruling only on the eviction of the tenant. They are not awarding $$ to parties. You will need to take the tenant to small claims court to settle those issues.
When a tenant "answers" a 5 Day Pay or Quit notice, the judge must grant a hearing to both parties. This gives the tenant more time in the property but that is the legal requirement. Judges have more leeway to grant or deny a Motion to Stay if they do not like the tenant's reasoning.
Fill out all the paperwork accurately and precisely. Any mistakes or typos will delay or even cause your case to be thrown out of court.
If the tenant Answers your 5 Day notice, go to the court website and read the Answer. The court will not forward you the tenants answer, therefore you must research the response yourself by going to the court website and looking up your case. The judges said most landlords have no idea what the tenant said about the eviction and consequently landlords are completely unprepared to defend when they arrive in court.