Ask for a trial or default judgment
After you serve your tenant with the Summons and Complaint forms, your tenant has 5 days to file a response with the court (or 15 days if they weren't served in person). Depending on how (and if) they respond, you have some options for next steps.
1. Wait to see how your tenant responds
After your tenant is served the Summons and Complaint forms, they have 5 days to file a response with the court. The 5 days don't include Saturdays, Sundays, or court holidays.
If your server handed the forms to your tenant (even if they refused to take them and your server had to leave them nearby), your tenant has 5 days to file an Answer.
Your tenant gets more time to file an Answer if your server
- Gave the forms to someone else at your tenant's home or work and then mailed a copy to your tenant (this is called substituted service)
- Posted a copy at your tenant's home and then mailed a copy to your tenant (this is called service by posting)
If your server used substituted service or service by posting your tenant has 15 days after the server mailed the Summons and Complaint to file an Answer instead of 5 days.
- The mailing date is the postmark date
- Day 1 is the day after the server mailed the Summons and Complaint to your tenant
- For the first 10 of the 15 days, count regular calendar days (every day, including weekends and holidays). The 10th day is the day your tenant is considered served
- Then you count 5 court days. For these 5 court days do not count Saturdays, Sundays, or court holidays. The 5th day is your tenant's deadline to file an Answer form
If they don’t file an Answer by the deadline, the next day you can file forms asking the judge to order your tenant to move out.
If your tenant does not file a response on time, on the 6th day you can file forms asking the judge to order the tenant to move out. This is called a default judgment. The tenant can file a response any time before you file to ask for a default judgment, so it's best to ask for one as early as you can.
At any point, if you and your tenant work something out, you can talk or get help from a mediator to come to an agreement without going to court (or in addition to going to court).
Depending on your next step, you may need to get ready for a trial, ask for a default judgment, or dismiss the case.