What is the Unlawful Detainer Process

An unlawful detainer process is a legal proceeding that is initiated by a landlord after serving the tenant with a notice to cure a problem or to quit the property, following which the tenant has failed to either quit the property or cure the problem.

The Unlawful Detainer Process

In simpler words, when there is a dispute between a landlord and tenant, a notice to address and solve the problem or to quit the property is served. The dispute can be damage to property caused by a tenant which the landlord wants to be remedied or can be unpaid rents. There can be other kinds of disputes as well. If the tenant addresses the problem, such as repairs the damage or pays the dues then there is the unlawful detainer process cannot be initiated.

The unlawful detainer process is commenced after the tenant fails to act. Another instance wherein such a process can start is if a landlord serves the tenant a tenancy termination notice and the tenant doesn’t agree with the clause of termination.

The Legal Proceeding Explained

The unlawful detainer process is a legal proceeding that is monitored by the court. At first, the court issues a notice to the tenant in accordance with the claims made by the landlord. The tenant gets five calendar days (it may vary from state to state) to reply to the court order. If the tenant fails to respond or appear then the landlord wins by default. If the tenant replies then the response is assessed. If the tenant has a point or evidence to substantiate the counterclaims then the court would assess the evidences and arguments and then make an inference in favor or against the landlord. If the tenant doesn’t have any substantial evidence then the landlord wins without variation.

If the tenant wins the unlawful detainer process then the landlord has to pay all the attorney fees and other legal expenses incurred by the tenant in the process. However, the tenant would have to pay the rent amounts that are due or any damages that need to be repaired, although eviction can be avoided with conditions in place. If the landlord wins then the tenant has to bear the expenses and also eventually evict the property after attending to the dues or damages.

Unlawful detainer process usually takes up to two months from the initiation, however that also varies from state to state and from one case to another.

Posted on Mar 28, 2014


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