Remote Eviction Trials – Tips and Pitfalls for Retail and Commercial Property Owners
Courts in the tri-state area are reopening, and eviction trials are proceeding in-person and virtually. A remote eviction trial makes it easier for a landlord to get before a Judge and reclaim their property; however, don’t forget that you are “in court.” Here are a few things that retail and commercial property owners may want to consider when preparing for and attending virtual eviction trials.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Remote trials or hearings, like their in-person counterparts, require preparation. The fact that you will be at your computer does not mean that a landlord can get away with not being ready for its trial. You will not be permitted to search your computer or files in your office for answers to a Judge’s or attorney’s questions. In most cases, any documents that a landlord wants to present at trial must be submitted to the court ahead of time.
Landlords should be able to meaningfully discuss the underlying lease, accountings, the basis for the tenant’s default under the terms of the lease, and any other matters relevant to their case. Appearing in court can be nerve-racking. Taking the time to review in advance can ease that stress and help make the trial proceed more smoothly.
Appear for Success
A virtual trial is not a casual Zoom call. All attendees at the trial should be dressed appropriately for court, sit in a quiet room, and appear in front of a neutral background or use a virtual background. Think about it for a second. You wouldn’t attend a business meeting in your pajamas from your bed, with the TV playing in the background. The same rules apply here. An eviction is a serious matter, the parties appear before a Judge, and the court’s time is precious. You want to convey to the court that you understand, and are respectful of, those issues.