Who can represent me as the landlord during an eviction court hearing?

I own a rental house in another state. I have a court date to evict tenants for non-payment of rent. Who can legally represent me so I don’t have to make the 700 mile commute? I have family and friends in the area where the property is located.

Asked on October 28, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Your friends or family may NOT represent you--doing so would be the unlicensed practice of law, and would both be ineffective for you (i.e. their appearance would not count, so your case would be dismissed) and also get them in trouble. The person who represents you in court is a lawyer--you need to hire one. You also need to ask the attorney about whether you would have to appear to testify, if the tenants show up and contest the eviction (e.g. claim they don't owe what you  say they owed, or that they paid, or that they withheld rent because you did not make necessary repairs and the premises were uninhabitable). That's because testimony--such as whether rent was paid, or how much is owed--must come in by witness. While the presence of a landlord can usually be waived if the tenant does not contest the issues of fact, if the tenant does challenge the basis of the eviction or raise new issues like habitability, it may be that you (or someone else with personal knowledge--e.g. a bookkeeper, your spouse who works with you, etc.) has to be present to testify.

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