We last discussed eviction procedures in our post about Landlord Tenant Laws back in April, 2008. Now for a brief update:
As noted in the original post, most eviction cases are heard by courts of general jurisdiction, such as Superior Courts or District Courts. Of course specific courts’ jurisdiction varies from state to state, depending on the structure of each state’s judicial system. In a few states, evictions may be handled by local courts of limited jurisdiction.
As if finding which court handles evictions in a given state weren’t difficult enough, the process of kicking out a tenant isn’t even called “eviction” in some jurisdictions. It’s technically called “dispossessory” in Georgia, but may also be called “eviction” in some courts. It’s technically called a “summary proceeding” in New York, but may also be called “eviction” (or both). It may be called “eviction” or “forcible detainer” in Texas.
In the examples in the following paragraphs, click the state link to see CourtReference’s Self-Help and Legal Research resources for that state; once there, scroll down and look for resources that discuss evictions (or dispossessory, or forcible detainer, or summary proceeding). For selected examples, click the specific court links in each of the following paragraphs.
Evictions in Texas are most often handled by Justice of the Peace Courts. In smaller counties, there may be only one Justice of the Peace serving the entire county, but larger counties have several Justice of the Peace Courts serving various parts of the county. Check out the procedure and terminology in Aransas County Justice of the Peace Court, Denton County Justice of the Peace Precinct 6, and Hood County Justice Court.
Louisiana also has Justice of the Peace Courts with local jurisdiction, and they also hear many eviction cases – but so do some City Courts. At least the different Louisiana courts use the same terminology: eviction. Good explanations may be found in Lake Charles City Court and Point Coupee Parish Justice of the Peace Courts.
In New York, local City or Justice Courts (also known as Town and Village Courts) hear most eviction cases. Good examples may be found in Binghamton City Court, Chenango Justice Court, and Greece Town Court,
In Georgia, evictions are frequently handled by Magistrate Courts but may also be heard in State Court; both courts serve an entire county, but have limited jurisdiction compared to Superior Court. An added Georgia twist is that evictions may also be referred to as a “dispo” or “Proceeding Against Tenant Holding Over (PATHO)”. Details are in the links for Bibb County Magistrate Court, Clayton County Magistrate Court, Cobb County State Court, and others.
CourtReference‘s Court Forms and Other Information resources for each state also have links to eviction forms – and other types of forms, no matter what the proceeding is called, or which court handles it.