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    How to ensure my eviction case is properly prepared to avoid dismissal

    7/31/17 2:32 PM Brian Wojcik Eviction Notice, Evictions, landlord tenant law

    My years of landlord and property management experience fed by desire to create Rent Court Manager. I understand  the hassle of having to take your tenants to court - the days lost at the courthouse and the hours spent trying to track down the status of a case. And let’s not forget the lost rent that quickly racks up for each day in the process ($40/day on average). I wanted to make it simple for the do-it-yourself landlord or property manager to file an eviction. And more importantly, have the confidence that they had “checked all the boxes” and were properly prepared in court.

     One of the top questions I receive from do-it-yourself landlords is:
    “What are the requirements for filing to ensure my case is properly prepared so it’s not dismissed?”

    To best prepare your eviction failure-to-pay-rent case for each district court in Maryland, you’ll want to gather up the following:

    1. A copy of the lease for which you are filing.
    2. A copy of the Tenant Ledger from the start of Tenant occupancy to the current date.
    3. A copy of the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) Lead Inspection Certificate if your property was built before 1978 (with a valid date for the current tenant in place).
    4. A copy of the city registration or county license depending on jurisdiction of your property (if applicable).
    5. A copy of the completed DOD Military Service Verification. This is federal law, and district courts are now enforcing this requirement. The tenant SS#, or Birth date, and Last Name are required to perform this verification. 
    6. While not mandatory, generally it is helpful to know if you believe the tenant will likely contest the case, due to repairs, or some other reason. During the filing process, there is an opportunity provide a short narrative of the events that led to this filing, and be prepared to attach any supporting documentation for repairs, receipts and invoices of vendor payments, etc.

    After the case has been filed, if the tenant makes a partial rent payment, the complaint value must be amended to reflect the new balance due and owing. If there is a full payment where the tenant obtains a zero balance, cases must be dismissed.

    If the tenant appears in court and presents a defense, you should be there as a witness. And if the relationship between you and your tenant is not on positive terms, you should absolutely plan on coming to court to defend their claims.

    For Rent Court Manager users, the process is simple:

    1. If you are filing an individual case using our Filing Wizard, you will have an opportunity to upload the above mentioned documents. If an additional failure-to-pay-rent claim is filed against the same tenant in the future, you will only need to upload an updated tenant ledger. The other documents will only need to be uploaded one time per tenant.
    2. To update you case, simply log into your account and make a payment amendment. If there is a full payment, cases must be dismissed. If using our software, you can dismiss the case by logging into your account.
    3. Simply provide us with all of the documentation that you believe would support your claim or defense. Your tenant will likely make claims, so make sure we have evidence to defend any argument you imagine they might come up with. If you anticipate the tenant making claims about repairs not being addressed and/or completed, submit appropriate supporting documentation for the defense of your case, i.e. work orders, receipts from contractors, etc.
    4. If the tenant makes claims without you there as a witness, we will continue the case for another day when you'll be able to appear as a witness. There is an hourly attorney charge for this continuance.

     

    Need help filing an eviction case?
    Check out the demo of our Rent Court Manager software below. Simply register to start filing today! 

     

     

    Brian Wojcik

    Written by Brian Wojcik

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