Ideally, all tenants would provide their full rental payment on-time, and reside in the premises in a respectful manner, with the Landlord providing all of the agreed-upon services and amenities, in a safe and inhabitable manner. In reality, however, landlord and tenant disputes are common and can result in timely or costly disputes.
Non-Payment of Rent
Rent not paid in full
Tenant Holds Over
Lease expired and tenant remain in the premises
Month to month tenancy and the landlord desires for the tenant to vacate
Tenant Fails to Comply with Lease
Purchase a pet and the lease expressly forbids pets
Creates disturbances to other tenants
Conducts illegal activity in the premises
Landlord fails to maintain the premises in a habitable condition
Methods of Landlord Tenant Resolutions
Positives: A trial provides the litigants the opportunity to each present their case, utilizing the facts and the law to present their position before a Judge. After reviewing the facts, and applying the law, the Judge will issue a written Decision concerning possession of the premises and the amount owed by the tenant, if any, and the date that said sums are due.
Negatives: Due to the stringent rules of evidence, in certain situations, tangible evidence may not be accepted by the Court, which could severely impact a parties ability to prove their case by admitting the “smoking gun”. In addition, trial can be unpredictable, as a third-party who has no personal knowledge of the events is tasked with attempting to parse out the truth from the evidence presented before them. Even the most logical and level-headed people can review the same facts and apply the same principles of law and come to different conclusions. There may also be instances where a Judge makes an error in interpreting the law, necessitating an appeal, and resulting in the expenditure of additional time and money. Due to the unpredictable nature of trial, a litigant cannot be certain of the outcome. A litigant may be surprised by the amount of time a tenant is afforded before being forced to vacate, the total sum of arrears owed, or the time to pay such arrears. A trial will not take place on the date of the first court appearance, and the litigants must schedule the trial around the Court’s busy trial calendar. As such, the issue may not be resolved for some time, and will likely be more costly.
When Trial Makes Sense: If one party maintains an unreasonable position and is unwilling to negotiate or consent to a reasonable settlement, trial may be the best option. Due to the financial constraints of trial, a trial is more economically sustainable when the amount of arrears outstanding is of a large amount.
Positives: A settlement permits both parties to have certainty as to when the tenant will vacate the premises, the amount of arrears the tenant will pay the landlord, if any, and the payment schedule for any such arrears. The parties can negotiate and often “trade” the tenant’s time to vacate with the amount of arrears owed. Settlements are more cost effective, especially if the matter can be resolved on the date of the first court appearance. Likewise, settlements resolve the matter in a more expeditious manner, as less time is spent in court, and there is no need to wait for a decision from a Judge. Ordinarily, a tenant agrees to provide the Landlord with the Judgment of Possession of the premises, and a warrant of eviction, which is stayed until the agreed upon time between the parties, or failure of the tenant to make agreed upon payments. Thus, the parties are provided with certainty in the date that the tenant will vacate the premises.
Negatives: Although settlement provides certainty, it is possible that proceeding to trial will result in a more favorable outcome for a litigant than a settlement.
When Settlement Makes Sense: Settlements make sense in the overwhelming majority of cases, as it is often more cost-effective, less time consuming, and provides a level of certainty for both parties.
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