Lawsuits filed in the Land Contract Division are filed by the Seller of a Land Contract when the Purchaser fails to make payments.
Prior to initiating a lawsuit with the District Court, the Seller of the land contract must notify the Purchaser that the Seller will seek the Court’s intervention if the payments are not brought current. This notification is done with a form called “Forfeiture Notice, Land Contract”. This form may be purchased at the Clerk’s office for $1.00. It includes “Proof of Service” on the reverse side. The Seller is responsible for filling out the form in full, including dating and signing at the bottom. Once this is done, the Seller must serve the Purchaser with a copy of this notice. This may be done by personal service, 1st class mail, or substitute service with a proof of publication. The seller then must wait 15 days from the date of service before initiating a lawsuit.
Filing the Lawsuit
After following the above steps and having waited the required 15 days, the seller begins initiating the lawsuit by filing a Summons and Complaint with the Court. WHEN COMING TO THE COURT TO FILE A LAND CONTRACT SUIT, YOU MUST BE PREPARED TO BRING THE FOLLOWING:
- 3 copies of the Forfeiture Notice which was previously served upon the Defendant
- 3 copies of the Land Contract
- A $55.00 filing fee (cash or money order only).
All litigants will be required to provide stamped, self-addressed envelopes to return pleadings or documents. This includes pleadings in landlord tenant cases.
You must then fill out a “Summons and Complaint” for Land Contract Forfeiture. The forms are $1.00 each and may be purchased at the Clerks office. Once you have filled out the “Summons and Complaint” along with attaching the above-required items, the Court Clerk will assign a case number and a court date. The court date, as required by law, will be between 30 and 45 days from the date of your filing.
The Seller (who is now the Plaintiff in the lawsuit) must then have the “Summons and Complaint” served on the Defendant by a process server or by certified mail, restricted delivery. If you do not know a process server, you may look in the phone book.
If the Plaintiff (Seller) fails to appear on the scheduled court date, the Judge will dismiss the case.
If the Defendant (Purchaser) fails to appear on the scheduled court date, the Judge will enter a Judgment against the Defendant. This Judgment may be for a breach of contract and will then give you 90 to 180 days (depending on how much has been paid on the contract) to cure the breach. NOTE, if the property is more than half paid for, 180 days to cure the breach will be given. If the property is less than half paid, then 90 days will be given to cure the breach.
If the Defendant fails to cure the breach by the date given on the Judgment, an order of eviction may be issued and the contract will be forfeited.
Once the form is signed by the Judge, the Plaintiff must take the form to a process server (who is also deputized) or a Sheriff Deputy who will have the authority to remove the Defendant from the premises.
If you require special accommodations to use the court because of disabilities, please contact the court immediately to make arrangements.
THIS INFORMATION ATTEMPTS TO EXPLAIN ONLY THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE LAND CONTRACT DIVISION OF THE COURT. IT IS NOT A COMPLETE STATEMENT OF THE LAW. CLERKS OF THE COURT WILL BE HAPPY TO ASSIST YOU IN THE PROCESSING OF YOUR CLAIM, BUT THEY ARE NOT ATTORNEYS AND CANNOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE. IF YOU HAVE FURTHER QUESTIONS, YOU MAY WISH TO CONSULT AN ATTORNEY, OR HAVE AN ATTORNEY REPRESENT YOU.
If the breach is not cured by the time stated on the Judgment, the Plaintiff may file for an “Order of Eviction/Land Contract”. The form is $1.00 and a $15.00 filing fee is required. The form must be filled out and presented to the Clerk and signed by the Judge.