I gave my tenant a 3 day pay or quit notice and now have proceeded to an unlawful retainer notice that was already served. He must respond to the court by 12/18/2012. A 3/29/13 court date was set up. If he responds to the court for a hearing does that mean he can stay in my house until the March court date or can I still evict him even if he responds to the court by 12/18/12? I'm afraid he will continue to not pay rent through this entire process. He is already 3 months behind and I'm now on the brink to foreclosure of my home.
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
I am very curious as to the 3-19 court date. Usually court dates are not set in these types of matters.
I will give you the same advice that I give everyone else, evictions and unlawful detainers are not self-help law. It is a very technical area of law and I have never actually seen pleadings by a landlord who has done the process correctly. Even the kits that they sell at the courthouse are fatally flawed. Landlord Tenant attorneys do not cost much money in regard to the value that they provide and I would highly highly highly suggest you hire an attorney who regularly practices in the area.
Serving King, Pierce, Snohomish Counties
This answer is for informational purposes only and should not be construed to establish an attorney client relationship. Before taking any legal action, it is always advisable to discuss your specific situation with an attorney.
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
If he fails to respond then your attorney can take a default. If he responds, you set up a hearing. If he owes you money and you have carefully complied with all the requisite procedural steps, you will likely get a writ and a judgment against him.
In Pierce County, a few years ago, the judges noticed that there were many, many cases that fell into a "black hole" and were never resolved or dealt with, just clinging to the assigned Judges' docket, clogging up their rate of resolving cases. In order to stop this accumulation of "black hole cases" the Court issued a local rule requiring the clerk to issue an order at the time the case is filed advising the litigants that there will be a status review hearing in approximately four months. If the matter is not resolved, or if no action has been taken, or if no one shows up at that hearing in four months, the judge will dismiss the case, which removes it from the judge's docket, so that the judge has resolved the case.
There is no right to stay in the house until the review hearing. The review hearing has nothing to do with the merits of your case, it is simply there to ensure that your case doesn't fall off into the abyss.
If he responds on time, and if you did everything else correctly, you'll be fine. It is entirely possible that he'll try to stay in the house as long as possible. Thuis it is very much in your interest to lawyer up and be sure to end this as soon as legally possible. I have never seen a pro se landlord do everything correctly, with all respect.
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