From a defendant’s perspective there are many things to consider when settling an unlawful detainer that the plaintiff may not tell you:
1. Settle Without a Judgment: Often times plaintiff’s counsel will want to do a settlement in the form of a stipulated judgment. Why do this? It will result in a judgment on your record that can negatively affect your credit and cause problems for future rentals. The better option for a defendant is to settle by way of a settlement agreement that allows the court to retain jurisdiction in the matter.
2. Seal the file: See if you can get the file sealed so that the file is not discoverable in background checks by future landlords.
3. Stipulated Judgment: If you know you are going to comply with the terms of a settlement agreement, a stipulated judgment can be an acceptable insurance policy to give the landlord. The stipulated judgment would only be filed in the event of a default of the settlement.
4. Attorneys’ Fees: Even if the lease provides for prevailing party attorneys’ fees and costs if you are settling a case most parties will agree to bear their own attorneys’ fees and costs.
5. Move Out Date Timing: If you are settling the unlawful detainer/eviction action there should be some flexibility in the timing of your move out. Make sure you find out where to deliver the keys on the move out date and make sure you have enough time to find a new place to live.
For help with your unlawful detainer contact Schorr Law, APC, www.schorr-law.com, 310-954-1877, firstname.lastname@example.org.