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may take possession of the premises six days from the date that you are served with the bond papers unless you ask for a trial within the six-day period. If your landlord has filed a possession bond and you do not ask for a trial within the six-day period, you will lose possession of the premises. It is always better to request the trial in writing by filing a request with the court. Make a copy of your request and bring both your original request and the copy to court. The court clerk should stamp both with the date you filed the request, and return one file-stamped copy to you. Requesting a trial does not cost anything.

  • (5)

    You and the landlord must appear on the date set for trial in the Justice of the Peace Court to present evidence. The trial date is usually held between 6 and 10 days of receiving the court papers, or, if you are required to answer the lawsuit, a few days after you submit your answer or response to the court. It is very rare for the Justice of the Peace to postpone the trial unless both parties agree to the delay. Both parties have the right to present their side of the case, including witnesses, receipts, cancelled checks, photographs, and any other evidence that may support their position. You may have the case decided by a jury by paying $5.00 within five days of receiving the eviction papers. Requesting a jury is sometimes a good idea since some of the jurors may be tenants themselves, and they may more fully understand what it is like to be a tenant. You are not required to be represented by a lawyer at the Justice of the Peace Court hearing but may be if you so choose.

  • (6)

    If the judge or the jury finds that you should be evicted, the judge will issue a judgment against you, and, if you do not appeal that judgment in five days, the landlord can request the judge to issue a "writ of possession" that allows the constable or sheriff to physically evict you. The writ cannot be issued until the sixth day after the Justice of the Peace signs the judgment (counting weekends and holidays). Also, a writ of possession can only be issued if you do not appeal the deci- sion of the judge by the fifth day after the judge’s decision. See “Appealing an Eviction Case” below. If you do not attend the hearing, you will lose the case by default. Once a writ of possession is obtained, you will be given 24-hours notice that a constable or sheriff will supervise the removal of all persons and property from the premises. The officers cannot execute a writ of possession if it is raining, sleeting, or snowing. Because constables and sheriffs usually do not work on week- ends or holidays, writs are not typically executed then.

(7) If you lose your eviction case in court, the landlord can still let you stay in the premises. For example, the landlord may let you stay if you pay back rent and court costs before the six days are up. Warning: Unless you get a signed, written agreement from the landlord saying the judgment from the court is void


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