Your Day at Trial
Unlawful Detainer trials tend to be rather routine hearings. If this is a morning trial, you will rarely be there into the noon hour. It is imperative that you arrive at the proper time. Your attorney will go over the questions that will be asked of you and this can only be done if you are timely. In addition, be sure to bring those witnesses and documents that were requested by our office or that pertain to this case.
If you feel you need to have a consultation with your attorney prior to your trial date, please check this link. CONSULTATION
The Judges encourage settlements in every case. It is for this reason you might see your attorney talking with your tenant prior to the trial. Any settlement would only be done pursuant to a Stipulated Judgment, which has the same effect as a court judgment. Usually the attorney is attempting to get the defendant to agree to move by way of this Judgment. You have the prerogative to accept these terms or have your case heard by the Judge. Usually a settlement is in your best interests, but it is your decision.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE TRIAL
If we are successful, a court order (writ of possession) must be obtained. This order is delivered to the clerk but it generally takes one week for this order to be completed. After it is issued, it is brought to the Sheriff's office. The Sheriff must process it and then post a "5 DAY NOTICE TO VACATE" on the door. Sometime after the 5 day period expires, the Sheriff will call our office to set up a lockout date. We will immediately call you to inform you as you will have to meet the Sheriff with a locksmith and change the locks. If there is personal property left behind, you will have to itemize that property. We do have a locksmith service that can meet the Sheriff as your agent, change the locks and do a personal property inventory. You will receive a information on this service when the eviction is near. Generally the lockout occurs 15 to 25 days from the date of trial.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE TENANT'S BELONGINGS
If the tenant leaves personal property after he vacates, you may immediately move it out of the unit and put it in a locked storage facility. The tenant must have access to retrieve his belongings. You cannot withhold it for the payment of past rent. If the tenant does not appear to be getting his belongings, please call our office and we will send you a notice to have his belongings declared abandoned. The form is located at: PROPERTY
THE MONEY JUDGMENT
You will be sent the money judgment with an information letter explaining your options for collection. If the tenant has done damage to your unit, this would be a separate suit, probably in small claims court. Do not forget to send a statement to the tenant's last known address indicated how you are accounting for the any security deposit that you might be holding. This must be done within 21 days of the tenant vacating the unit. The form is located at: SECURITY