If you've been to DC landlord and tenant court lately you may have noticed some changes. I talked about the changes a year ago in some detail in Changes Coming in 2016 but here I will focus on one big change and how is is working. The biggest change is the new fully functioning "upstairs" courtroom. This courtroom is now reserved for motions, status hearings, and a few other types of hearings. Trials and initial returns are still held downstairs in the courtroom across from the clerk's office. The idea is to make things run more smoothly and get people out of landlord tenant court faster. Does it work? Sometimes. If you have an initial hearing you could still be there several hours. Your tenant could go to the Resource Center or to talk to a law student. If you have a trial you should still expect to spend ALL DAY there. If you have a motion in the upstairs courtroom you may or may not do better. Motions still take time. Often the hearings drag on. Sometimes you will be out more quickly, sometimes not. If you and the opposing party are both there and both sign in on the sheet in the upstairs courtroom you stand a better chance of getting out quickly. But there are no guarantees. The less pressure you put on yourself to be done, the better your negotiating position. If you really have to leave the other side may use that to pressure you. So be ready for the long haul.