In my last blog, “What Happens After You’ve Been Served with an Unlawful Detainer?” I wrote about the need to file an answer within five calendar days. This is a very short time frame to respond. What happens if you don’t respond within that time frame?
The court will enter a default judgment in favor of the landlord, which means the court awarded your right to live in your home to your landlord.
This default judgment allows the landlord to obtain a writ of possession. The landlord can give the writ of possession to the sheriff, who in turn will serve you with a copy. The writ of possession will state that you need to move by the fifth day you have been served with the writ. If you do not move out by this time, the sheriff will physically remove you from your home.
Any personal property that you have leave behind after the landlord has obtained possession of your home will be sold or disposed of, unless you pay the cost of storage and get your possessions no later than 15 days after the landlord takes possession of the property. Facing an eviction like this can be emotionally devastating.
You should weigh your options carefully before making a decision on responding to being evicted and being served with an unlawful detainer lawsuit. If you do not respond, then you will likely be forced to move from your home. This can happen very quickly. Talking to someone knowledgeable about the process, like a tenant attorney, may be helpful in seeing your case objectively. You should know how to fight for your renter’s rights.