Tips for Representing Yourself in Housing Court
Pay attention to the timeline.
There are things that need to be done at specific times during the eviction process. If you don’t file court papers or you miss your court hearing, you could lose your case. You can check with the court to learn more.
Visit the courthouse ahead of time.
You’ll need to fill out and file some court papers when representing yourself in an eviction case. If you can’t afford to pay the court fees, you can apply for a Fee Waiver. While you are there, you can sit in the courtroom and watch some eviction cases so you know what going to court is like.
Take time off from work.
Some court cases can take all day, so you should plan to take the whole day off from work. If you need a babysitter, you should line one up for the whole day, too. And make sure to plan how you will get to the courthouse so you’re not late on the day of your hearing.
Get your evidence and witness lined up.
Don’t expect that you’ll be able to show the judge evidence on your phone. Print out at least three copies of any emails, pictures, or documents you might need: one copy to keep for yourself, one for the court, and one for the other person in your case.
If you want to have a witness, you’ll need to line them up in advance. You may need to subpoena them, and that takes time.
Practice telling your story.
It will help you feel more comfortable when you are in court.
Be careful about any agreements you are offered.
Sometimes the other side will offer to come to an agreement with you before you go to court. Don’t sign anything you don’t understand or don’t agree with, and don't make an agreement that you can't follow through with.
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