What Can You Expect to Encounter During an Eviction Hearing?

Once you’re done with these preliminaries, you will proceed with your lawsuit. Many eviction cases go untried—often because the tenant moves out or a settlement has been negotiated with the landlord. Nevertheless, each case that does go to trial will have its own unpredictable twists and turns. For this reason, you’ll probably need to hire a professional lawyer.

Eviction proceedings are typically decided on the spot or shortly after the judge has heard the witness's testimony and reviewed the relevant laws. If you win, you get a judgement from the judge declaring that you have the right to possess the property. You may get a money judgment for back rent and court costs and attorney’s fees, too.

Unfortunately, having a judgment for money that will be paid isn’t the same as having the money itself. Your tenant may be unable (or unwilling) to pay your rent, despite the fact that you have a formal court order. Unless the tenant automatically pays up, you are supposed to collect the debt—for example, by getting paid from the tenant’s security deposit or finding a collection agency.

If you lose the eviction case, your tenant can stay on your property, and you may end up having to pay for your tenant’s court costs and fees. You could also suffer if the judge decides your actions are illegal, such as discrimination or retaliation.