A landlord and tenant can settle their eviction case outside of court. There are many benefits to this. It costs less, takes less time, and allows the landlord and tenant to come up with their own solution.
Even if the case is in court already, you can always come to an agreement with your tenant to avoid having to go to trial for an eviction. There are 2 types of agreements:
- Where the tenant stays, and
- Where the tenant leaves.
If you decide to let the tenant stay, you can ask the tenant to agree to a plan to repay the past due rent. You can also ask the tenant to agree to a "probationary period." A probationary period allows you to bring back the eviction case if the tenant breaks the settlement agreement or the lease in the future.
A tenant will often agree to leave if they are given more time to find a new apartment. Many landlords will give a tenant a month to find a new place. If your tenant agrees to leave, you can ask the judge to enter an order giving a deadline for the tenant to be out.
The court will also set a "compliance date." The compliance date is a court date where you and the tenant would go to court to let the judge know if the tenant did leave before the deadline. If the tenant is still in the apartment, the judge could enter an Eviction Order immediately. An Eviction Order is a decision by a judge that says a tenant must leave an apartment or building.
Sealing, or hiding, the case
If you settle the case, you should also consider "sealing" the eviction file. Sealing is when a judge decides that a case should be hidden from the public. The court will almost always seal an eviction file if the landlord and tenant agree to do it. Sealing the file prevents the eviction from showing on background checks. This makes it easier for the tenant to find a new apartment (and leave your apartment sooner). It is also a good way to get the tenant to agree to leave voluntarily.
Most settlements are entered as a court order. Any agreement you make with the tenant should be put in writing and signed by both you and the tenant.
Updated: February 2017