Category Archives: Legal Updates

Weak Evictions Cases

A nonpayment of rent eviction or an eviction based upon a serious criminal act that occurred on the premises is, well, a piece of cake. Most property managers are familiar with the steps necessary to set up the case for the eviction, the proper notice to be given and the eviction process itself. If a resident has not paid rent, the whole process is usually cut and dry. The resident has not paid the rent, a proper notice is given, the notice expires, and the eviction is filed by your friendly attorney who has filed thousands and thousands of evictions. Well over 75 percent of the cases go through without a hitch, and eventually the resident either vacates voluntarily, or the Sheriff makes the resident vacate. This article is not about those cases. Rather, this will be about the “weak” cases, in which the manager wants the resident out, the regional manager wants the resident out, everybody in the office wants the resident out, BUT your attorney tells you that you have “weak” case.

Before we go on with this, when your attorney tells you that your case is weak, you need to trust him or her. Think about this. If you use an attorney who primarily files evictions, this is how your attorney makes money. If an eviction is not filed, the attorney makes nothing and probably spends at least 20 minutes and 5-10 emails discussing the matter with you. You see, eviction attorneys WANT to file evictions. They want to file as many good cases as they possibly can. If they don’t file a particular case, they make less money. On the other hand, your attorney does not want to lose a case for you. Some managers feel that if you lose an eviction case, you just have to start over again at a later time, and it is no big deal. Well, it can be a big deal, a really big deal. Under Florida law, the losing party, and that may be you, must pay the attorney’s fees of the winning party, and that may be the resident. While most residents do not retain an attorney, more and more do as time goes by. The reason is twofold. First, there are over 100,000 attorneys in Florida, and some are dead broke. They will take any case that walks through the door, hoping to find a reason to make some money. Secondly, since the winning party in an eviction gets an award of attorney’s fees; that desperate attorney may end up getting an award of $10,000 or more against your company! Yes. It is true. We are aware of cases in which fee awards approach $20,000, all over a simple eviction action in which the manager LOST the case. An honest attorney looking out for your best interests will tell you when your case is weak and why. You should trust your attorney if he or she has been practicing in this area of the law for a long time and has plenty of experience. Let’s look at some examples of cases that appear strong to you, but may be weak. Finally, this article will not explain how to actually make these eviction cases stronger, as we have written plenty of articles in depth on each scenario, but this article is meant to point out why some cases are weak and why more has to be done in order to evict a person for an action or inaction if it is indeed even possible.

The Unauthorized Occupant

Simple enough. You see the unauthorized occupant, you speak with the resident, you give a 7-Day Notice to Cure, as you still see the unauthorized resident’s car, and you figure you can file an eviction. Not so fast. What is your proof? Well, you see the unauthorized occupant’s car each night. That is all nice, but is this enough to win the case in court? The resident will claim that the person is a visitor, that this person frequently visits at night and does not live there. This creates quite a mountain for you to overcome. You need to PROVE to a judge who has no idea what is going on at the property that the person is actually LIVING there. You say you have three residents who tell you they see the guy going in and out all the time. Will they come to court? They say they will, but do you know how many times a resident who has been complaining all the time does not show up in court, or if the neighbor is compelled to show up under a subpoena, how the story may change? With no testimony and solid proof, you will lose.

Resident Smoking Marijuana

We weren’t born yesterday, and most of us know exactly what marijuana smells like. Currently it is illegal to use marijuana, so if a resident is using marijuana, that resident is committing a crime. The resident in a second floor apartment tells you she constantly smells marijuana from the resident below, smoking inside the unit or on the lanai. You go over to the resident’s apartment to speak with him, and a cloud of marijuana smoke comes out and hits you in the face. Can you evict based on this proof? No. You would need to have the resident arrested, the marijuana confiscated and field tested, and you would need solid proof a crime was committed on the premises. Easier said than done, especially when the police often do nothing when you call them. To be quite frank, police have bigger fish to fry than your resident who is smoking marijuana on the lanai or inside the unit. A weak case it is.

Excessive, Accumulated Late Fees

Your resident had been paying the rent late each month, and over the past 6 months the late fees have been building and building. You take no action, as you are happy just to get the rent. Your regional manager clamps down on this and tells you that if a resident owes anything which is not paid upon demand, you are to file an eviction. You send the case over to the attorney, based upon a notice demanding $800 in late fees accumulated over 6 months. Can you win this eviction? It is really risky and hard. Your failure to insist on rent with the late fees or your failure to return the rent when it did not include the late fees created a potential waiver defense, and most judges will not want to evict someone based on the fact that it was YOU who failed to enforce your late fee policy. Many judges hate late fees.

The Unauthorized Pet that has Been There Forever

You have knowledge that your resident has an unauthorized pet in the apartment, but you don’t take any action. The pet is quiet, the pet is cute, and you have inspected the unit a few times and did not see any pet related damage. On top of that, your maintenance tech’s kid has taken care of the pet on a couple occasions when the resident was on vacation. You go into the unit now and see pet damage. Now the cute little pet has become incontinent, or the resident is leaving it unattended for extended periods of time. Maybe it has taken up barking loudly. You immediately get angry and want to give a 7- Day Notice to Cure for the unauthorized pet. But wait! The legal principle of waiver kicks in. Your failing to do something the moment you discovered the pet and your subsequent acceptance of rent month after month will cause your case to be almost impossible to win.

Resident vs. Resident Wars

We have all seen cases in which on-site residents in adjoining or nearby apartments engage in a war. One resident complains about noise, yelling, harassment, name calling: the list goes on and on. The other resident frequently has the same complaints. Now if residents get into a squabble, and there is an arrest at the property, the case actually becomes easier to set up for an eviction, but it does not usually rise to this level. It is an ongoing, low-grade war and dispute, and you are the recipient of all the complaints. You recognize that to comply with fair housing laws, you should not take sides, even though you may suspect who the real instigator is. At the end of the day, you simply do not have enough to file an eviction. These are extremely frustrating cases with which to deal, but in the absence of corroborating evidence from some third party, such as a law enforcement officer or staff member, a case against either resident will be weak.

Noise From an Adjoining Apartment

The resident below claims that the resident above is making banging noises on the floor or dropping things. Maybe the resident has a child who is constantly dropping toys on the bare wooden floor or running around. Is it noisy and annoying? Sure, but can you evict the upstairs resident for this? Very doubtful. Part of the problem is that you have no independent proof that there really is noise. You can have 10 reports written up by the downstairs neighbor, but you are not allowed to show these reports in court. Then for the final blow, you find out that the upstairs neighbor is saying that the downstairs neighbor is banging on the ceiling. Without proof, you have nothing. Absolutely nothing. If you try to evict, a judge may even deny the eviction based upon inadequate soundproofing.

The Cluttered Apartment

Some people live in an embarrassing fashion. A first glance will show everything is scattered about: clothes, papers, books, newspapers, magazines and junk. You can’t even see the floor or recognize the room you are in. Can you evict for this? If it is not a true health or fire hazard, the answer is most likely no. What you feel is a fire or health hazard may simply be a messy and cluttered apartment. Without solid proof from a professional who will come to court with you to prove to the judge that some health or building code is being violated, you will lose. People have a right to live how they want. Now, if it smells of rotting food, there are insects, vermin or feces all over, that is a different story, but a cluttered apartment may not reach that level. You often will have to put up with it.

Loitering and Excessive Guests

What is loitering? Is having 5 people sitting on the steps loitering? Is a gathering of people in the parking areas hanging out and talking loitering? You may feel it is, but unless the police agree and take action accordingly, you have nothing. Now if those 5 people on the steps are unreasonably loud or preventing other residents from using the steps for ingress or egress, this is a different story, but just “sitting there” will probably not support an eviction. What constitutes excessive guests? Is a gathering of 20 people in a small apartment excessive? This is not up to you to determine. If there is noise, excessive traffic in and out of the unit, indications of drug dealing, prostitution or other provable problems, you may be able to take some action. However, just because people do things as a group or congregate and “hang’ out, these actions may not support an eviction, and your response in dealing with this activity could result in a fair housing lawsuit or complaint.

The Odd, Annoying Resident

Sometimes you have an “odd” resident. Everyone does. The one that wanders around the apartment community partially clothed, two different shoes, smells funny, mumbling, watching the mail carrier sort the mail for delivery, saying weird things to other residents, coming into the office frequently or sitting in the children’s play area staring at the children. You may want to evict this person for “harassing other residents”, but is this resident really harassing people to the point when the actions will constitute lease violations worthy of an eviction? Very doubtful, and on top of this, the resident may have a mental problem which would qualify that person to be considered disabled under the law. Trying to file an eviction on the odd resident is extremely risky, and all other avenues need to be exhausted. You may just have to put up with that resident.

Conclusion

Don’t hesitate to speak with your attorney even if you have a weak case. Often there are non-eviction means to get compliance or to get a resident to vacate. The key is to understand when you do have a weak case, continue to gather evidence, and follow the advice of your attorney. Many times a weak case becomes a strong case. You never can predict what will occur.

Disclosure of All Facts Prior to Eviction

by Harry Heist, Attorney at Law
 

Sometimes after we have filed an eviction, we find out that a client “withheld” certain information from us, and that act of withholding ends up having a serious impact on the outcome of the eviction case. Of course, most clients claim that it was unintentional or an accident, and that they simply forgot to tell us some crucial little factoid about the situation. Withholding information will not make your eviction more successful no matter how good your attorney is. In fact, it could cause you to not only lose a case, but cause you to become embroiled in a major contested eviction or worse. Never forget that when you file an eviction, the resident can counterclaim, and now you are getting sued.

The Intentional Failure to Disclose

Occasionally a property manager will know something that could be damaging to an eviction action and will choose not to disclose the information, fearing that the attorney will not take the case. This is very dishonest and unethical. You could end up putting your attorney into a position where he or she is forced to ask the court for permission to withdraw from the case. You would then be required to hire another attorney to continue the case for you, or maybe have to drop the case altogether. Dropping the eviction case, or “dismissing” the case (in legal terminology) is really no huge deal, unless the resident has retained an attorney. If the resident has an attorney, you could end up being liable for the resident’s attorney’s fees, which could be substantial. Can you imagine an eviction costing up to $20,000? We can show you cases in which property management companies and owners had judgments against them for an amount this high, simply because they lost the eviction action. Intentionally withholding information is dead wrong, and when we find out that a client does this, we usually will refuse to work for that client ever again. It is not fair to yourself, the property owner, your attorney or anyone else to be dishonest.

Just File the Eviction, I KNOW They Will Move!

We have heard this many times from clients, and often the client is 100% correct. Sometimes all it takes is having the eviction filed with the courts and served on a person for the resident to pack up and move. Let’s face it, most residents don’t put up a big fight. Usually they have nothing much to fight about, so they just buy a little time and move. Does this strategy always work? No, so you cannot depend upon the resident just moving. Sometimes, a mild-mannered resident can surprise you with a real bulldog attorney who wants to take the case to the proverbial Supreme Court.

The Unintentional Failure to Disclose

While no less dangerous, we understand that our clients sometimes do not intentionally withhold important information. It was either by accident or lack of knowledge. The main problem is that our client did not know the information was relevant or could have any impact on the case. You would hate to have to answer a 100-item questionnaire before each case, so you need to know what to look for, and what we look for. This article will discuss a number of issues that can cause a case to be seriously jeopardized and items and facts that need to be disclosed to the attorney BEFORE the case is filed. By disclosing, you are being honest and can give the attorney the ability to possibly help you get possession of a unit without even filing an eviction at all. There are all kinds of strategies that can be used in the resident removal process. Eviction is only one option. Sometimes, we are able to get a resident to leave without having to use the court system, and this is always preferable.

You Accepted Rent after the 3-Day Notice or 7-Day Notice Expired

If you accept rent after the expiration of the 3-day notice or 7-day notice, and we don’t know this, the allegations in the eviction complaint will be inaccurate. A defective 3-day notice is an excellent way to lose an eviction action, and similarly, accepting rent after a 7-day notice the basis of the eviction action will likely result in the eviction being denied.

You Served Another Notice after the 3-Day Notice

If you serve any payment demand notices after the 3-day notice, the last notice you serve can void out the prior 3-day notice. When we file the eviction, we need the most recent 3-day notice, not one from last month when you just served 20 more 3-day notices on the property yesterday. We receive a case to file on the resident, and the day before, the assistant manager served everyone, including the resident now under eviction, with the current month’s 3-day notice.

You Gave the Resident a Verbal Extension of Time

The 3-day notice has expired, and the resident is begging you for more time. You give him a few more days, but the few more days ends up being a week, and in the meantime, the resident has had conversations with other staff members in your office about more extensions. Your kindhearted extension of a few days becomes what the resident claims was a two-week extension, and the entire case becomes a, “he said, she said” mess.

The Resident has Made Habitability Complaints

Sometimes a resident does not pay rent because of habitability problems in the residence. The habitability issues will often come out in court; trust us on this. Will the judge have sympathy for the resident? Quite possibly. We don’t want to hear about the resident’s 3- month old mold issue in court. If the resident has had problems in the unit, we need to know.

You Received a Rent Withholding Letter

By law, if a resident serves you with a written notice of a serious habitability issue, and you do not rectify this within 7 days, the resident may be able to break the lease or withhold rent. In some cases, the rent withholding letter is a complete defense to the eviction. When requesting an eviction, it is imperative that your attorney be notified of any rent withholding notice.

You were Contacted by an Attorney

Attorneys usually write letter to owners or property managers, and sometimes they even will call you. You may even speak with the attorney, giving that attorney information that could be seriously damaging. It could be misconstrued by the attorney, or twisted and used against you later. Your attorney needs to know if you had any contact with an attorney, when, why, the nature of the communication, and your attorney will want to examine any written correspondence you may have received from the resident’s attorney. Don’t talk to the resident’s attorney, even if that attorney is very nice to you on the phone.

You or the Prior Company May Have Filed an Eviction on the Resident Previously

We have clients come to us sending over what looks like a basic eviction, only to find out that a prior attorney filed an eviction on the resident 3 months ago and possibly lost or dropped the case. Not only can we not work magic, but sometimes the older eviction is still open in the court system, and maybe there can even be money in the court registry in the old eviction case. It is possible that your owner owes attorney’s fees to the attorney who represented the resident in the last eviction. While we may be good at what we do, those problem are hard to overcome.

You Had a Drop Box Theft

In the past two years, many of our clients had thefts of checks and money orders from their drop box. Many now don’t even have a drop box, as it is so dangerous to use this system. We have clients send over cases for nonpayment of rent without telling us that the case involved a resident who had or claims to have had the rent stolen from the drop box. Judges are not too sympathetic to property managers who have drop box issues.

Resident is in Bankruptcy

Some property managers do not understand that if a resident is an active bankruptcy case, not only can you not file an eviction against that resident without bankruptcy court approval, you cannot even serve a 3-day notice on that resident. If we are not told this, we have no idea the resident is in bankruptcy; we file the eviction, and you could end up being sanctioned by the federal bankruptcy court for violating federal bankruptcy law. This will cost you money and is illegal.

Resident is in the Military

Just because a resident is in the military does not mean that the resident does not have to pay rent. BUT, the court must be advised by way of an affidavit if you know the resident is in the military. If you remotely think the resident is in the military, you must find out, or you can get into serious trouble. An eviction against a person in the military is not the same as the typical eviction; additional expenses will often be incurred, and the eviction can take much longer than normal. When seeking a default against the resident for not responding to the lawsuit, not disclosing to the court that the resident is active military is a federal crime.

You Signed a Rent Assistance/Social Services Form

There are many social services organizations, some public and some private, that provide rent assistance to people in need. In order to get that assistance, the owner or property manager often must sign a form provided by organization providing rent assistance. These forms will often have some fine print under which the owner or property manager is agreeing to hold off on an eviction for a period of time. If you agree to hold off and wait for the money that may or may not come, you are stuck with this. We have filed cases in which the resident defended on the basis that the landlord signed such a form, only to have the judge deny the eviction. You must be careful never to sign this type of document unless you know exactly what it is, understand the ramifications, and most importantly, keep a copy of it to show your attorney.

The Resident has Died

What? Is this possible? Yes. We have had property managers not tell us before and more often during an eviction that the last remaining resident in the unit has died. The manager is thinking that maybe by telling us, the eviction may have to stop, or things will get complicated. The manager is right. Evict a dead person, and see the trouble you will get in when the heirs find out you tossed all their dead relative’s belongings onto the street.

The Manager Who Prepared and Served the 3-Day Notice no Longer Works at the Property

If a resident tries to claim that the 3-day notice was not received according to the certificate of service section completed “Mary”, or the resident tries to claim the rent was paid to “Mary” in the office, and “Mary” no longer works for you and left on bad terms, the lack of “Mary” in court could be the end of the eviction case. If a staff member involved in any way with rent collection or notice serving on the account in question is no longer is working at the property, we need to know.

You are no longer Working for the Owner after the Eviction

You are either done working for an owner because of some problem that you have with that owner, or because of some problem the owner has with you. You have no intention of working for the owner after the eviction is over. Will we get paid for that eviction? Doubtful. Your owner won’t want to pay anyone you had any dealings with. Moreover, if your intent is to terminate management as soon as the eviction action is filed, or if the owner has terminated your services prior to (or during) the eviction action, we need to know.

Your Owner is Broke

Many property owners are completely broke. They could be in foreclosure, near foreclosure or on the verge of bankruptcy. You know your owner far better than we do. If we file the eviction for you, the chances of us getting paid are slim to none. It is not fair or right to do this to any vendor. On top of this, often the resident will refuse to pay rent when he or she knows the owner is not making the mortgage payments.

Failure to Register your Fictitious Name

You took over an apartment community a few months ago and no one in your company bothered to register the fictitious name with the state. Most of the time, no one in the company even knows what this means. If you look at www.sunbiz.org, not only are you under new ownership, but the new name you have for the apartment community is not even registered. An eviction defense? Absolutely. As soon as you take over a property or change the name, it is crucial to properly register your fictitious name, as it is actually a misdemeanor to file an eviction, and this can result in your case being delayed or dismissed.

You have been Negotiating with the Resident

Your resident had flood damage that was not the resident’s fault. You received authorization from the owner to reduce the rent by $200 for one month, but what did the resident want? MORE. So now you are going back and forth, and the resident then decides to take it upon himself to deduct the $350 from the rent money and you accept the partial payment with the deduction. Does this mean you have a deal? Are you stuck with this? Some judges feel this way. We need to know this before we file an eviction, not after. Any deals on rent reductions or reimbursements are extremely important, and they become promises and contract modifications in some cases.

The Resident is on Section 8

We can evict Section 8 residents, but there are some special procedures that must be followed, and in addition, many Section 8 evictions get contested. If a resident loses Section 8 eligibility due to an eviction, it is quite a big deal to that resident, as Section 8 assistance is worth a lot of money over time. Section 8 residents under eviction routinely go to their local legal aid office, and often the Section 8 employees do not properly follow the rules when they cut off Section 8 residents. Often we cannot tell by looking at the lease that you are accepting Section 8 on a resident, and this needs to be disclosed.

Your Resident Subleased

Many residents will sublease or get a permanent “roommate” and not tell you. As long as you are receiving the rent, you sometimes will know and just ignore this. When the rent stops flowing in, we have to file against the resident who is long gone. This can cause an extremely complicated and failed eviction, especially if it turns out that you have accepted rent from that roommate or sublessee. Let us know if there are any unauthorized people living in the unit before we file, and most importantly, let us know if you ever accepted rent from anyone other than the named residents.

The Resident was or is Receiving Rent Credits for Work or Repairs

Occasionally, you allow the resident to receive rent credits for work done on the side, or repairs or work done in the residence, despite our strong recommendation against any such exchange. Perhaps the resident is a former courtesy officer who was receiving reduced or free rent, and you have decided to terminate that arrangement. Disagreements about the level of compensation or current rent amount often arise, and this is a great way to lose an eviction; we need to know about any such arrangement.

Tenant Delay Tactic While In Eviction Court

A Motion to Stay a Writ of Possession is a document that a tenant files with the court which has the result of “staying” or “stopping” an eviction action after a final judgment for the landlord has already been entered. The Motion to Stay a Writ of Possession is one of the less commonly used legal techniques by tenants to stall or stop an eviction action, but it does occur enough to warrant a better understanding of the process by a landlord. It is probably the least understood and more baffling Motions, so we will start with a brief overview of the eviction process and see where the Motion fits in.

The Eviction Process in a Nutshell

For the purposes of this article, we will explain the eviction process in its most simplest of forms and use the Uncontested Residential Eviction Action as our example. In an uncontested eviction, the tenant is served with the eviction summons and complaint either by the sheriff or a process server. The tenant has 5 business days after being served to “fight” the case by filing an answer with the court. In an uncontested case, the tenant does not file anything with the court, and the clerk of court enters a “default” against the tenant. The file then goes to the judge who after a cursory review of the file will sign the “Final Judgment”. The Final Judgment states that the eviction is granted in favor of the landlord, and the Final Judgment orders the clerk of court to “issue” a Writ of Possession, which is a document commanding the sheriff of the county to place the landlord in possession of the premises. NOTE: For an in-depth article on the Writ of Possession click here. The sheriff then takes the Writ of Possession, serves it on the person or the door of the premises if the tenant is not home and on the Writ of Possession it states the date and time that the sheriff will be back on the premises to remove the tenant, this usually being 24 to 48 hours from the time the Writ of Possession is served. The removal of the tenant is called the execution of the Writ of Possession. Theoretically, and in most cases, the sheriff comes back on the stated date and time, and the tenant is removed from the premises. The catch is that the tenant is able to file a motion with the court to derail this entire process at any time after the Final Judgment is signed by the judge and before the sheriff actually physically removes the tenant from the premises. This Motion is called a Motion to Stay the Writ of Possession

What is a Motion to Stay the Writ of Possession?

Simply put, the Motion to Stay the Writ of Possession is a document filed with the court asking the judge to “stay” or “stop” the sheriff from executing the Writ of Possession and removing the tenant. It can be a typed or handwritten document filed by the tenant or the tenant’s attorney if one is retained. The Motion to Stay the Writ of Possession may state that the tenant paid the rent, the eviction was unfair, the tenant needs more time, the case is defective or just about anything on earth that the tenant can come up with to convince a judge that the eviction should be stopped or make the judge feel sorry for the tenant. If the judge is swayed, the tenant gets their day in court.

How does the Motion to Stay the Writ of Possession affect the process?

Once this Motion is filed with the court, it is immediately sent to the judge, an emergency hold is put on the case, and the judge reviews the Motion and the reasons why the tenant feels they are entitled to having the Writ of Possession stayed. A Motion to Stay a Writ of Possession is taken very seriously by the court system, and the judge will almost immediately review the Motion. If the judge upon reading the Motion feels that there is some real legal basis why the eviction should be “stayed”, the judge will grant the Motion without a hearing and set it for a later hearing, or will set an EMERGENCY hearing to have the landlord and the tenant present evidence as to whether or why the Writ of Possession should or should not be stayed. If the judge upon reading the Motion to Stay the Writ of Possession feels it is completely without merit, the judge will enter an Order denying the motion, and the eviction continues on.

The judge Grants the Motion to Stay the Writ of Possession – Now what?

If the judge grants the Motion to Stay the Writ of Possession, the judge enters an Order Staying the Writ of Possession and will set a hearing, which basically gives the tenant a chance to present evidence as if the case were contested and a hearing were set in the beginning stages of the case. If the tenant has failed to post the rent money into the court registry, it is doubtful that the tenant will prevail, but if the tenant can prove that possibly they paid the rent and it was mis-posted by the landlord, or placed a large sum of money into the court registry, even if late, there always is a chance that the tenant can win the action. Your attorney may file a Motion to Lift the Stay of Writ of Possession if the judge grants the tenants Motion to Stay the Writ of Possession.

The judge Denies the Motion to Stay the Writ of Possession – Now what?

If the judge denies the Motion to Stay the Writ of Possession, the case proceeds on without delay just as if nothing happened. If there is a hearing set, and at that hearing the landlord prevails, the judicial assistant or judge will notify the sheriff’s department to execute the Writ of Possession. If your attorney has filed a Motion to Lift the Stay of the Writ of Possession, and the case is heard and decided in the landlord’s favor again, the judicial assistant or judge will notify the sheriff’s department to execute the Writ of Possession.

Sounds confusing doesn’t it? Is it all that bad?

The Motion to Stay the Writ of Possession is a bit confusing, as the landlord thinks they have won the case completely, only to be thrown this curveball at the end of the process. Will the case be delayed? Often, but usually by only a few days if the judge grants a hearing to the tenant. In the vast majority of cases when the tenant files a Motion to Stay the Writ of Possession, the judge reads it and denies it right then and there, and not a moment is lost and no hearing occurs. The worst case scenario is that the judge will grant the Motion to Stay the Writ of Possession, a hearing will be set, and the judge will feel your case is defective or there is a good legal basis why the tenant should not be evicted. Remember what Yogi Berra said: “It’s not over until it’s over”.

Is there anything that can be done to prevent the tenant from filing a Motion to Stay a Writ of Possession?

Absolutely nothing. A landlord’s best defense though is to make sure the eviction is filed properly, the notice was done with care, the landlord did not take any rent during the eviction action, and the landlord’s records are clear and concise.