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Settling your case before trial


Before trial, try to reach a written agreement with the landlord. Make sure you understand it before signing. Protect your own interests as the landlord’s attorney represents them, not you. Ask the judge for clarification but remember they cannot provide legal advice.


Last updated 07/19/2023

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Move out and dismiss

If you have already moved out or are ready to move out, you can ask the landlord or the landlord's attorney if they will agree to dismiss the case

Before trial

Before a trial, the judge may tell the landlord and tenant to speak with each other to see if an agreement can be reached. If an agreement is reached, for your protection, the agreement should be in writing and signed by both parties. The agreement may or may not be part of a judgment. The agreement should state every term of the agreement. Do not sign the agreement unless you understand it. If you think you will need help, bring a friend who can help you read and understand any written agreement or documents. Make sure you get a copy of the agreement before you leave the courtroom.

If you agree you need to move but need more time: you can ask for either a consent judgment with a stay of execution or a pocket judgment with a stay. 

Consent judgment with a stay of execution

A consent judgment with a stay means that you agree to have a judgment entered against you today but the landlord agrees to stay execution until a certain date, which means they won’t ask the sheriff to come remove you until after a certain date.

Please note: You cannot appeal a consent judgment.

Pocket judgment

A pocket judgment means that you are agreeing to move out by a certain date and if you do, the case will be dismissed. If you do not, then the judgment will be entered.

Protecting your interests

Remember, the landlord or the landlord’s attorney is there to protect the landlord’s interests, not your interests. Unless you have an attorney, you will have to protect your own interests. If you have questions, you may ask the judge. However, the judge cannot give you legal advice. You may have to wait to speak to the judge but be persistent.