The defendant in an eviction proceeding may be required to pay rent into escrow while the eviction proceeding is pending.
Payment when Trial is Postponed
In an eviction proceeding for non-payment of rent or for holding over, if the judge adjourns (postpones) the trial for a longer period than the normal period allowed by law, the tenant must pay all rent as it becomes due during the eviction proceeding. The court may require the payment to be made either to:
- The court where the case is being tried; or
- An administrative agency authorized to hold rent in escrow.
The court may also refer the case to an administrative agency to investigate a tenant’s complaint and report to the court.
The tenant must pay the rent due before the date on which the trial is to resume or, if the trial is adjourned for more than 5 days, within 5 days after the adjournment. If the court ordered payment to an administrative agency, the tenant must pay the amount due within 5 days of the order.
If the tenant fails to pay the rent as required, the landlord can request a hearing where the court might decide in favor of landlord and issue a warrant for repossession of the premises.
Payment if Jury Trial is Requested
In an eviction proceeding for non-payment of rent, breach of lease, or holding over, if either the tenant or the landlord asks for a jury trial, the tenant must pay rent as it becomes due into an escrow account during the eviction proceeding. The district court where the proceeding originates determines where the payment should be made. The district court could require the payment to be made to:
- The clerk of the circuit court;
- An administrative agency authorized to hold rent in escrow; or
- The landlord if both parties agree or at the discretion of the district court.
If the tenant fails to pay the rent as required, the landlord can request a hearing in circuit court, which must be held within 30 days of the request. The tenant can present defenses at the hearing, but if the circuit court finds against the tenant, the court may consider the tenant’s request for jury trial to be waived and may immediately proceed to conduct a nonjury trial or schedule a nonjury trial for a future date.