Feb 11, 2014

Why Was my Eviction Case Set for Trial?

1. What happens at the initial eviction hearing? 

On any given day eviction hearings are bunched into a 60 minute time frame.  It is not uncommon for 80 eviction hearings to be scheduled in a 60 minute block!  During these hearings the courtroom is packed with attorneys, their clients, tenants, and crying babies.  Thus, Judges are under necessity to move through each case as quickly as possible.  Additionally, the hearings move swiftly because often the defendants (tenants) don't appear at their hearing.

In this small allotment of time there is not time to take sworn testimony, allow for opening and closing statements, or review evidence.  So just because the case was set for trial it doesn't mean that they did anything right or that we did anything wrong.

2. Why would a judge set an eviction for trial?

If a Defendant (tenant) in fact appears at the hearing and denies the allegations contained in the Complaint, the Judge may set the matter for trial.
  • For example: If the original Complaint was filed for failure to pay rent the tenant may appear and claim that they are actually current on their rent. As mentioned above, the Judge does not have time during the block to hear the argument, and he or she will set it for trial.
  • Another example is in the case that the Complaint was filed for breach of the lease agreement. For instance, if the signed lease agreement states that only two people may occupy the property. If the property owner finds out that there are 22 people living in the house he or she may file for an eviction based on the fact that the Tenants had more than the allowed number of occupants in the home; which is a breach of the original signed agreement. However, the Defendant (tenant) may appear and claim that the people in the house are just visiting. In this case the matter would be set for trial.