In order for a tenant to be lawfully evicted from a premises, strict procedures must be followed. A landlord that takes self-help remedies and removes a tenant’s belongings and changes the locks may be liable for triple the damages suffered by the tenant as a result of the landlord’s unlawful eviction. Accordingly, it is important for a landlord to follow the proper procedures and steps to evict a tenant.
A tenant cannot be evicted absent a warrant issued by the Court and effectuated by the Sheriff or Marshall. Thus, should a tenant receive a rent demand, 30 day notice, or ten-day notice, the landlord cannot merely evict the tenant at the expiration of that time period. Providing notice to the tenant is ordinarily the first step that must take place in an eviction proceeding.
Should a Landlord go to Court without having the proper knowledge of the legal system, it is possible that they could enter into a stipulation that has no method of enforcement. When entering into a Stipulation, it is important to have language providing that a warrant will immediately be issued, which can be stayed pending the agreed upon period of time between the landlord and the tenant. Should a stipulation fail to have language issuing the warrant, should the tenant fail to leave by the agreed upon date, the landlord will not be able to enforce the Stipulation, as only a Sheriff or Marshall can lawfully evict a tenant. Should the landlord in this situation remove the tenant’s belongings and change the locks, even if the tenant is not abiding by the agreement to vacate, the landlord could be liable for an unlawful eviction.
Due to the nuances of the legal system, it is important that you make the right choice in determining the selection of an attorney. Should you have further questions concerning the eviction process, please contact The Siegel Law Firm, P.C.
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