An eviction court is a general term used for a court that hears eviction cases. Depending on the jurisdiction, this court may be held as part of a local court’s regular operations, or may be an entirely separate and devoted system. In most cases, the eviction court is responsible for resolving disputes between tenants and landlords that may result in an eviction being ordered. Either side is capable of disputing the issue and taking it to court.
Given the fact that most lease agreement disputes are for relatively little sums of cash, an eviction court may also be a small claims court. This helps free up the district court system for more costly litigation procedures and criminal cases. The same rules apply in small claims court, and both sides have the right to be represented by council.
An eviction process is typically started after a landlord feels a tenant is not meeting the requirements of a signed lease agreement. Often, the dispute involves money, but may involve other issues such as pets, general maintenance and upkeep, or other issues. Though the process may vary by jurisdiction, a landlord must typically provide the tenant with a notice of eviction explaining the issue, and giving the tenant time to correct it. If the tenant does not correct the problem within a certain number of days, which is usually between three and 30, the eviction process can begin.
The tenant can resist the eviction by filing a resistance or affidavit with the eviction court. The court then sets a hearing for the two sides to present their sides. In some cases, the court may opt to send both sides to a mediator in an attempt to resolve the issues without court action. The use of a mediator may also vary from one jurisdiction to another.
Once the question is before the eviction court, the court must determine several things. First, it must decide if the steps leading to the matter going into the court system were followed according to the law. If that is the case, then the court must determine if the lease agreement was violated. The eviction court may grant some time for the tenant to come into compliance with the agreement, but generally does not have to do so.
If the eviction court orders the tenant out of the home, the action is usually enforceable in less than a month’s time. Then, if the tenant still refuses to leave the home, he or she can be charged with criminal trespass and arrested. At that point, the tenant’s issues move into the criminal court system. The home is then vacated, and the tenant may or may not have rights to claim property inside the structure.