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The Non-Payment Landlord and Tenant Case

When a tenant fails to pay rent and is in arrears the landlord may commence a case to recover the oustanding rent. A non-payment case is when a landlord takes a tenant to court to collect unpaid rent. Though the case is brought to collect unpaid rent a warrant of eviction may be issued and the tenant may be evicted for non-payment of rent. In essence, a non-payment case may serve a means for a landlord to regain possession of the premises.

                                                 The Demand for Rent

Before the landlord takes a tenant to court to collect unpaid rent the landlord or his agent must demand the unpaid rent from the tenant. This is called the rent demand. The rent demand must include a warning to the tenant that if the rent is NOT paid by a specified date the landlord will start non-payment proceedings against the tenant and the tenant may be evicted. The rent demand may be oral or written depending on the terms of the lease. 

The case could be dismissed if the rent demand is proper. It must served at least three days before the landlord start the holdover proceedings. Again, the landlord should pay careful attention to the lease to determine much time must be given to the tenant.


                                How The Non-Payment Case is Started

After the landlord serves the rent demand he or she is one step closer to taking the tenant to court. The landlord may start the non-payment proceeding if the tenant does NOT pay the outstanding rent. The case is commenced by the filing of the non-payment petition also called a "dispossess" and a notice of petition. The landlord must take care to ensure that ALL the required papers are properly prepared and filed with the Clerk of the Court. Among the required forms are:

1. Petition
2. Notice of Petition

3. Copy of Rent Demand (if written demand was made)
3. Affidavit of Service 
4. The Landlord & tenant Postcard

5. Copy of the lease