A tenant whose landlord has filed a dispossessory affidavit because of nonpayment of rent may be able to avoid being evicted by paying all that the landlord alleges is due plus court costs. This amount should be stated on the dispossessory summons served on the tenant. The tenant must offer payment within seven (7) days of receiving the summons. The landlord is required to accept such payment from the tenant only once in a twelve month period. If a landlord refuses to accept an offer of tender, the tenant should file an answer to the dispossessory affidavit stating that tender was offered, but refused. After July 1, 1998, if a court finds that a landlord refused a proper tender, the court can order the landlord to accept payment of rent, late fees and court costs and require that the landlord allow the tenant to remain in possession, if the payment is made within three days of the court`s order. If the court finds that the landlord refused a proper tender and orders the landlord to accept payment, that payment will not count as use of the tender defense which can only be used once every twelve months.
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