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Eviction of a Tenant

 

How to Evict a Tenant

 

By Roger A. Petersen – Copyright Notice – No portion of this article may be copied or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.

 

 

If you have a tenant and your property is one that qualifies under the Costa Rican Tenancy Law (Ley General de Arrendamientos Urbanos y Suburbanos) you can initiate an eviction for non-payment of rent action under the Summary Process provided for by the Code of Civil Procedure (Codigo Procesal Civil).

 

The eviction process for non-payment of rent pursuant to the summary procedure is initiated by filing a complaint with the court and serving the tenant with a summons. The complaint must indicate the names of the parties, the factual and legal basis for the complaint, and the legal description of the property.

 

Along with the complaint the landlord must include (a) a copy of the lease contract, if any; (b) a certificate of property ownership setting forth the legal description of the property. (c) an appraisal of the property prepared by a licensed Engineer or by the Property Tax Revenue Department. This is to demonstrate the house is not within the values of low income housing where eviction would have to follow a different process.

 

Once served with the complaint, the tenant has five (5) days in which to respond to the complaint for eviction by filing an answer setting forth any of their defenses.  If the tenant files an answer and formally opposes the complaint for eviction the court will allow three (3) days for the taking of evidence. At the close of this evidentiary period the court will analyze the evidence presented before it and issue its final judgment. If the tenant fails to respond and/or oppose the complaint for eviction the court will enter a default judgment which orders the tenant to vacate the property.  If the tenant fails to comply with the order then the police with proper jurisdiction can be commissioned to carry out the order of eviction.

 

Once the court issues a Final Judgment it issues a Writ of Possession which commands the police to restore possession of the premises to the owner. If need be, the police is authorized to place the personal property of the tenant in storage at his expense. Once the tenant is removed and the eviction complete, the landlord is entitled to file with the court a separate motion to collect un paid rent, interest, and damages, if any, incurred as a result of the eviction action.

 

As with all litigation procedures in Costa Rica the time frames can vary significantly depending on the court where the matter is litigated.  Eviction actions can range from 3 months to a year depending on the circumstances.

 

By Roger A. Petersen – Copyright Notice – No portion of this article may be copied or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.

 

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