How Do I Respond To An Eviction?

Be aware that if your landlord tries to evict you for a good reason, the fact that you have a baby, are pregnant, just lost your job, or you have nowhere to go will not prevent a judge from evicting you. Also, if you stay after an eviction notice, you could be liable for three times the daily rent for the days you stay there after the notice expires. Here are some general tips:
  • The first step in an eviction will be the service of a summons and complaint. The summons notifies the tenant that they are being sued and that to protect his or her rights, they should answer (reply) within a specified period. The complaint explains the lawsuit and tells the landlord`s side of the story.
  • You may wish to contact a lawyer in order to answer the summons. If you do not answer the summons, you will lose the right to state your version of events and a judge may issue a default judgement in favor of the landlord.
  • If you must prepare the answer yourself, try to take it paragraph by paragraph, assessing whether or not you agree with each statement in the complaint. Next, make two copies of your answer and give the original to the court listed at the top, and send a copy to the landlord or the landlord`s attorney.

You may complete the documents required to respond to an eviction using the Online Court Assistant Program. Click here to begin.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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