After the tenant has been served they will have 5 days to respond to the court. If the tenant does not respond then the landlord can request the California court clerk to enter a default judgment, but the landlord has to wait a minimum of 5 days before requesting the Entry of Default.
When to Request Entry of Default
It is important to understand that if the tenant does not respond after 5 days that a default judgment is not automatically issued. The tenant can respond to the Complaint until the landlord files the Request for Entry of Default even if 5 days has passed. The landlord must fill out forms CIV-100 (Entry of Default), and UD-110 (Clerk’s Judgment). A copy of form CIV-100 must also be mailed to the tenant. These forms can be found here and instructions for filling the forms out can be found in The California Landlord’s Law Book: Evictions.
If the landlord is going to sue the tenant for back rent or any other money owed it would be best that they first get the possession of the property restored first. After the property has been restored to the landlord he can later request a money judgment. Again this is all explained in David Brown’s book, but is beyond the scope of this article.
If a California tenant feels there is a legitimate reason for not paying rent sometimes they will decide to fight the landlord, which will delay the eviction process. After the tenant responds to the Complaint a court date will be set to occur within 20 days and both the landlord and tenant will have to appear in court. Sometimes a tenant will do this intentionally just to stay in the property longer, even if they do not have a legitimate reason to fight you in court. This is not a smart move to make on behalf of the tenant because the judge will likely find them liable for the landlord’s legal expenses.
Pre-judgment Claim of Right of Possession
If a Pre-judgment Claim of Right of Possession was also served then a Writ of Possession will not be issued until after the 10 days is up. The landlord should still file the Request for Entry of Default on the tenant after 5 days because that will prevent the tenant from responding. Then after 10 days has passed and no unknown occupants have come forward the landlord can then get the Writ of Possession.
Request Writ of Possession
To request the Writ of Possession form EJ-130 will need to be filled out. A $15 fee will need to be paid for the issuance of writ. Once the Writ of Possession is issued the landlord can obtain the services of the local sheriff’s department who will post the eviction notice, this is called a sheriff’s eviction.