6 Steps to Unlawful Detainer – Step 3: The Hearing

IMG_7809The 6 Steps to Unlawful Detainer

Part 3 of a 6 part series on the Unlawful Detainer Action in Arkansas.

If your tenant files an answer in response to your Complaint, then it is time to go to court!

Step 3: The Hearing

Otherwise known as “Who gets possession of this property?”

By this point, you have already given your tenants notice that they need to leave the property, and they have ignored you.  Next, you filed an official Complaint with the court, and much to your surprise – your tenants went to the court and filed an answer!  This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does happen . . . the next step is a hearing.

After your tenant files an answer or objection to your Complaint, the court will set a date so the judge can hear your case.  However, if your tenant never answered your complaint, you can skip this step and go straight to Step 4: Writ of Possession.

The purpose of this hearing is to determine who is entitled to possession of the property. Should you get the property back or does your tenant get to stay?

What should I expect at the hearing?

Each side will have an opportunity to present evidence or testimony that supports their position.

As landlord or property owner, your position might be that your tenant has broken the lease and you are suffering financial losses as a result.  You need possession of the property so you can get it rented out again as soon as possible.

As a tenant, their position might be that they should be able to stay in the house or apartment. Perhaps they have no place else to go. Or maybe, they claim that they did pay you rent.  Or, the rent was lost or stolen by someone. Or, this is all a big misunderstanding . . . The judge has heard of all this, before.

Each party should have some sort of evidence to back up their claims.  The judge will examine the evidence, listen to any testimony, and then decide who is entitled to possession of the property.

Sometimes a judge will order that the tenant surrender the property immediately.  Other times, they may give the tenant some time to pack up and leave.  Occasionally, the judge may even ask you to try working out an agreement amongst yourselves. Every case is different and every judge is different.

Do I need evidence?

You will want to provide evidence to prove your claims. Each side should be able to show that what they say is true. Every eviction case is different, so the evidence required will vary. In some cases, you might have emails, photos, or bounced checks to corroborate the information in  your complaint.  In nearly every case, you will want to include a copy of the lease and a copy of the notice of unlawful detainer.

The property is yours! Or is it?

Once the hearing is finished and the judge has ordered your tenant to surrender the property to you . . . now what? How do you actually get the tenant to leave? You need a writ of possession.

Go back to… Step 1: The Notice

Go back to… Step 2: The Complaint

Currently on… Step 3: The Hearing

Next Step… Step 4: The Writ of Possession.

Skip ahead to… Step 5: Execution of the Writ of Possession

Skip ahead to… Step 6: The Damages

If you need help:

If you need assistance with your Landlord-tenant legal matter in Arkansas, please contact Deborah at The Hardin Law Firm, PLC.  For our out-of-state clients, we are available via phone, fax, and email, to assist you with your real estate needs.

ATTORNEY: Learn more about Deborah L. Hardin.

SERVING: Cabot, Beebe, Ward, Searcy, Jacksonville, Lonoke County, White County, Faulkner County, and other central Arkansas areas. We also routinely serve out-of-state property owners, who require representation in Arkansas.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this web site is intended to convey general information. It should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. It is not an offer to represent you, nor is it intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

 Last updated: June 13, 2016 at 18:59 pm