Landlord Tenant

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Landlord Tenant 

A landlord tenant relationship is one person's business and another person's home. Evictions can be completed in weeks and deadlines are short and strict. It is an area of law full of rumor and poor information in which landlords and tenants, in equal numbers, use Google as their lawyer, and often to their detriment. Mistakes can cost the tenant their home and can cost the landlord tens of thousands of dollars.   

How can a landlord evict a tenant?

There is only one way to evict a tenant: file a disposessory action in court, win, obtain a document called a Writ of Possession, and have the Sheriff or Marshall evict the tenant. A landlord who evicts a tenant himself has engaged in what is called a self-help eviction and has broken the law. Such a landlord faces civil liability for the tort of trespass, among others. 

I let a friend sleep on my couch for a while and  Now he won't leave. do i have to evict him?

The short answer is, it depends. Informal situations like these may give rise to a landlord tenant relationship, and thus require an eviction, even if no rent is ever paid or collected. There is no hard rule, but if you let someone stay more than two or three days your guest may have become a tenant. 

How Long does it take to evict someone?

It can take as few as 21 days from the day the landlord files the eviction to the day the Sheriff removes the tenant. If the landlord is required to give notice or the tenant asserts a defense, it can take months. 

My old apartment is sending me bills for unpaid rent and cleaning fees I don't owe!

Dishonest landlords may send tenants a bill for unpaid rent, broken lease fees, cleaning fees, or damage to the apartment that the tenant never caused or is not responsible for. This could happen even if you finished the full term of your lease and left on your scheduled move out day. Trying to collect money based on false bills is fraud and subjects the landlord to civil liability. 

how do i get my security deposit back?

Your landlord is required to give you a written accounting of any portion of your security deposit that was retained. Certain landlords also have to follow strict move-in and move-out procedures before they can retain a security deposit. If your landlord has kept your security deposit and refused to provide you with an accounting you may be able to collect three times the deposit.  


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