Proposed Change to Residential Landlord Tenant Act

Some tenants facing eviction refuse to answer the door and accept service of the eviction lawsuit. Pre-litigation notices like the 3-day notice to pay rent or vacate can be posted and mailed if the landlord or person serving the document knocks and no one answers. This is not true for the eviction lawsuit summons and complaint.

If the tenant continues to refuse to answer the door, the landlord upon a showing of diligent efforts at person service can seek a court order to post and mail. However, when the landlord utilizes this type of court approved post-and-mail service of the eviction summons and complaint, the landlord can evict the tenant but cannot get a monetary judgment.

There is a proposal now in the legislature to amend the law so that if the tenant defends the eviction the landlord could get a monetary judgment in addition to evicting the tenant. The bill passed one committee, but has not been voted on by the full legislature, nor presented to the governor for signature.

Many landlords find it frustrating that they cannot get a judgment for money owed because their tenant refuses to open the door for a process sever trying to serve eviction papers. However, unless this bill or a similar change in the law is enacted, landlords will only be able to get a monetary judgment if the tenant is personally served with the eviction summons and complaint, and not if it is posted and mailed.

Again, this does not affect the landlord’s ability to evict the tenant.

For advice about your circumstances you should consult with an attorney.