No Rent Due to Damage or Hazards

Non-Payment of Rent / Damage to Property / Serious Health Hazard

Before an eviction suit can be filed, the tenant must be served with a Demand for Possession (DC100a (PDF)). This notice gives the tenant 7 days to either pay the amount of rent stated, or to move out. The suit can not be filed until the seven days has expired. The court does not have jurisdiction to hear the eviction case unless a Demand for Possession has been served. Service of the notice may be accomplished by a process server, providing personal or substituted service; or it may be served by first class mail.

Once the 7 days has expired the next step is the filing of the Complaint (DC102a (PDF)). If recovery of possession is the only remedy sought, fill in the names and addresses of the Plaintiff (landlord) and Defendant (tenant) and paragraphs 1 through 11 of the complaint. If a judgment for money damages is sought, see Supplementary Complaint, below.

A copy of the lease, if any, and the Demand for Possession must be attached to the Complaint. The landlord must prepare a Summons (DC 12-LT-104 (PDF)), filling in the names and addresses of Plaintiff (landlord) and the Defendant (tenant) and paragraph 1. The Clerk of the Court will fill in the rest of the Summons when filed with the 12th District Court, Civil Division. The filing fees must be paid at the time the suit is filed. A stamped envelope, addressed to the tenant, must be provided to the court. The documents will then be turned over to a process server.

Effective May 1, 2002, the 12th District Court has adopted a new procedure, requiring the tenant to file a written Answer after being served with the Summons and Complaint, before the case is scheduled for a hearing. The Summons, an Instruction sheet and Answer form will be given to the tenant when served. If the tenant desires to contest the eviction, he/she must file a written Answer within 5 days after being served. A sample of that form is available (DC 12 ANSWER (PDF)).

The tenant is instructed that the Answer must state the reason the eviction is contested. The Answer must be filed with the court within 5 days. The day of service is not counted. If the 5th day falls on a weekend or a holiday, it must be filed with the court the next business day. If an Answer is filed the case will be scheduled for a hearing within 7 days. At the hearing both parties must appear, bring any necessary witnesses, and, all documents pertaining to the tenancy; such as, the lease, if any, notices, payment records or receipts. Failure of the tenant to appear will result in a judgment of possession. Failure of the landlord to appear will result in dismissal of the case.

If the tenant does not file an Answer, the landlord may file a default notice with the court. The Landlord must fill in the amount of rent due as of the date of the default and file it with the Clerk. The Court Clerk will add the taxable costs and enter the default judgment. The amount of the judgment (rent and court costs) must be paid within 10 days from the date of the judgment or the tenant must move within that 10 days, otherwise a Writ of Eviction will issue, ordering the tenant to be removed from the property. The Court Clerk will send a copy of the Judgment of Eviction to all the parties.

If the landlord wishes to dismiss the lawsuit, such Request may be made on the (DC12 LT DEFAULT (PDF)) form.

Once the possessory judgment (DC 105 (PDF)) is obtained the tenant has 10 days within which to pay the amount of the judgment or to vacate the premises. If the tenant tenders full payment of the amount in the possessory judgment within ten days the landlord must accept it; the tenancy will be continued and the case closed. In the event the tenant has done neither, on the next business day the landlord may obtain an Order of Eviction (DC 107 (PDF)), authorizing a process server to physically remove the tenant.