Woman sits at desk in window area of loft apartment

One Stop Shopping for Free Landlord Legal Information

In my previous post, I talked about a way to obtain free criminal and eviction history about a prospective tenant when doing a background check.  The only cost would be for the credit check from Experian.  But what if a bad tenant slips through the cracks and you end up renting to them?  It happens to every landlord eventually (although it is getting better).

Where do you go to learn how to kick your tenant out?  In my opinion, it’s good to have competent legal advice in these matters.  One alternative is to subscribe to a service like Legal Shield(formerly Pre-Paid Legal)  which will give you tons of legal advice for one low monthly fee.  But if you would like to do the research on your own, and do it for free, there is a group that provides a great summary.

The National Center for State Courts is an independent, nonprofit court improvement organization founded at the urging of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Warren E. Burger.  He envisioned NCSC as a clearinghouse for research information and comparative data to support improvement in judicial administration in state courts.

What that means is that this organization is a great website to find good summary data on your states laws, without having to dig through all the legal jargon associated with reading all the laws themselves (and trying to find which law is which!).  Generally they help you navigate to your own state’s website for court filings.

How to Use the NCSC Website

When I go on their website I click on the ‘Information and Resources’ button and then ‘Browse By State’ – since I am only interested in the laws of my particular state.  The site then brings up a map of the US and you can click on your particular state.

I would click on Minnesota for my own state, and then Civil Courts, followed by ‘Small Claims’ and ‘Small Claims Resources’.

This will take me to the Minnesota ‘Self Help Center’ website where I can look up all the legal resources I need to be a landlord, after I click on the ‘Landlord/Tenant’ link.

As a landlord, you may already know where all the information for your particular state resides.  But if you are processing your first eviction, or you are new to being a landlord and want to know what you need to do in order to protect yourself, this is a great place to start.