On your court date, be sure to arrive early so that you have time to go through the metal detectors and be in the assigned courtroom on time. If you are not ready to proceed with the case at this time, you may be able to get an adjournment, a new court date, so that you have a chance to gather documents or get advice from a lawyer.
The first day you will be assigned to a resolution part where you and the tenant, or the tenant’s lawyer, will try to make an agreement to resolve the case. You will decide how much rent is owed, and when it will be paid. You might agree to make a payment plan with the tenant for the rent that is owed. This agreement is called a settlement. The settlement is usually written in a stipulation which may also include deadlines for you to make repairs or provide services.
If you did not hire a lawyer to represent you, there will not be a lawyer appointed to represent you. If you and the tenant are both unrepresented, you can ask for a conference so that the court attorney can help you and the tenant come to an agreement. You can ask for a conference if the tenant has a lawyer and you don’t. The court attorney is not there to represent either side.
If you make an agreement with the tenant’s lawyer, the judge should read the agreement to you and ask you if you understand it. You can ask the judge questions about your agreement and about any consequences it may have. After you tell the judge that you understand and agree to the stipulation, he or she will sign it and give you and the tenant each a copy.