By: Rick Davis
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Kansas Eviction Process and Timeline
In Kansas, eviction proceedings are one of the few areas of law that has its own procedure and timelines that were set by the legislature and must be strictly adhered to by the courts and parties involved in the eviction. This guide will help outline and explain the Kansas eviction process and timeline.
Prior to the disscussion of the Kansas eviction process and timeline, it is important to note that prior to filing an eviction action, notice must be provided to the tenant that an eviction may be filed and that they have a certain period of time to avoid eviction. If you would like more information about the notices that must be provided in Kansas, please click here to view our blog post on this topic.
Timeline without Trial
Once the notice period has expired, the Kansas eviction process and timeline begins by the filing of an “Unlawful Detainer Petition,” which initiates the eviction process. This is a document that is drafted by either you or your attorney and states the property address, when rent was due, how much rent is unpaid, etc. Once the eviction is filed, the Court will produce a summons (usually within 1-2 days) that has a date for an “Answer Hearing” or the date the tenant must first appear before the court. If the landlord is represented by an attorney, they are not required to appear at the answer hearing. This hearing will be within 14 days from the date the landlord filed its Petition. Once the summons is issued, it is the landlord’s (or their attorney’s) obligation to ensure the summons is delivered to or “served” on the Tenant.
If the tenant does not appear or appears at the Answer Hearing and admits to the non-payment of rent or other lease violation, the Court will enter judgment in favor of the landlord. If the tenant appears and denies they have violated the lease or not paid rent, the court will set the matter for Trial.
Once a judgment is issued, either after the Answer Hearing or at Trial, the landlord must prepare a “Writ of Restitution” to be signed by the judge. The Writ of Restitution is the document that authorizes the sheriff to remove the Tenant from the property. It usually takes a couple days to get the signed Writ back from the judge before it can be forwarded to the Sheriff’s Office.
Once the writ is signed by the judge, it is delivered to the Sheriff who has 14-days to remove the tenant. How it usually works is that the Sheriff will visit the home or apartment and post notice that they will return at a certain date and time. If the tenant has not left by the time posted on the notice, the Sheriff will remove them from the property and the landlord will have the ability to change the locks so as to prevent the tenant’s re-entry. In most instances, the Sheriff will coordinate directly with the landlord to schedule the date and time the tenant will be removed from the property.
Timeline with Trial
If a trial is required, it will be held after the answer hearing and before a writ is signed by the judge. Eviction trials are generally less formal than other proceedings, but still follow the basic procedure of the landlord calling any witness, which the tenant will have the opportunity to question or cross-examine, and the tenant then having an opportunity to call its witness(es). There are few defenses to an eviction action in Kansas, and therefore, trials are usually rather short with the landlord only presenting one witness (the landlord, property manager or someone with knowledge of the lease and payment history of the tenant) and the tenant usually being the only person to testify in defense of the action. Judge make the ruling in eviction cases immediately following the trial and then the process continues as stated above in the section for evictions that do not require a trial.
The Kansas eviction process and timeline does not end after the tenant is removed. After the tenant is removed, the landlord may petition the court for an additional hearing to determine the amount of damage to the Property that exceeds the security deposit. These hearings are usually held a few months after the eviction takes place and require new notice to be served on the tenant.
Collecting on a judgment
Unfortunately, obtaining a judgment against a tenant does not guarantee you will receive any money. When you prevail at trial, the court issues an Order declaring that the tenant is required to pay you the amount of the past due rent and other damage to the property. In most cases, the tenant does not voluntarily pay the money that was awarded in the Order. Therefore, in order to collect, you must attempt to garnish bank accounts or wages earned by the tenant. The process for requesting garnishment is fairly simply, but the difficult part is identifying the correct employer or bank account. Rental applications, copies of checks used by the tenant to pay rent, and/or any other documentation regarding the tenants potential employment or assets is helpful when it comes time to collect payment.
It should also be noted that while garnishment is an effective tool for collecting amounts due under a court judgment, the garnishment is limited to the assets and earnings of the tenant. Kansas law fixes the amount that can be withheld from a tenant’s paycheck at 25% and they must meet a certain threshold before any money can be collected. Therefore, if the tenant is working in a low paying job or only part-time, you may not be able to garnish or payments may come in slowly. For these reasons, it is important not to rely on immediate payment after receiving a judgment against a tenant.
If you would like to learn more about the Kansas eviction process and timeline, please click here to schedule a free 15-minute consultation. If you would like to handle your Kansas eviction, please click here to get started.