Tenants: File Your Answer Form with the Court and Serve the Answer to the Landlord (Step 4 of 6)

”One Two - Served With Complaint Three - Decide to Respond Four - File Response Five - Trial Six - After Judgment

After you fill out your Answer, you must file it with the court and serve the landlord with a copy before your deadline to respond runs out (usually 5 days after you are served in person with the Complaint).

If your court’s self-help center helps with unlawful detainer cases, take your paperwork to them to review. They can make sure you filled everything out properly before you move ahead with your case.

The next steps are:

  • Make 2 copies of the forms.

  • Have someone 18 or older (NOT you or another tenant), mail 1 of the copies to the landlord or to the landlord's lawyer (do NOT mail the original).

  • Have this person (called the "server") fill out and sign a Proof of Service - Civil (Form POS-040).

  • File the original of the Answer and the remaining copy, as well as the completed Proof of Service at the clerk’s office in the courthouse.

  • You will have to pay a filing fee. If you cannot afford a filing fee, you can ask for a fee waiver. If the court approves your fee waiver request, you will not have to pay the fees. But if you win your lawsuit and collect money, the court may ask you to pay back the waived fees.

  • The clerk will stamp your copy of the Answer and return it to you, and will keep the original for the court.

Go to the Next Step

For Tenants: The Eviction Process

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