Eviction Spotlight: Filing The Eviction
This article is the fifth in a six-part series that is designed to give you a detailed look at each segment of the unlawful detainer process. This particular article focuses on taking a default.
If the tenant fails to answer or otherwise defend the unlawful detainer action within seven calendar days from the date of service of the complaint, the plaintiff is entitled to a judgment of possession by default. An “Application for Default Judgement” should be filed with the Court. While every Judge is a bit different in the documents required in an Application for Default Judgment, these are the most common:
1. A plaintiff’s affidavit. A Plaintiff’s affidavit is a sworn statement, given under penalty of perjury, by a representative of the landlord that a Notice of Termination was validly served and that no payments have been received since that point.
2. A service member’s relief act form. This document affirms that the Defendant is not serving on active duty in the Armed Services. It is designed to comply with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Some counties, especially those with a strong military presence, require this document before granting an Application for Default Judgment.
3. A lease and ledger. The lease agreement establishes the legal relationship between the parties. Many judges will use the Application for Default Judgment as an opportunity to review the lease agreement to verify that there are no special provisions regarding termination and that this is not a lease/purchase situation. A ledger, or rent card, establishes the debt and allows the Judge to verify that no payments have been accepted since the Notice of Termination was served.Once an Application for Default Judgment is granted by the Court, the Defendant has seven calendar days within which to appeal. In order to maintain possession while the appeal is pending, the Defendant is required to post a bond with the Court and make monthly rental payments to the Clerk of Court as they come due.The next segment will discuss the trial process, should then tenant “answer” the action and request a court appearance.
We now evict throughout the state. I am pleased to announce that last month we filed in Talladega, Shelby, Jefferson, Lee, Chilton, Etowah, Calhoun, and Montgomery counties in addition to our fourteen familiar “home” Northern Alabama counties. Thank you for the opportunity to grow and serve your needs providing low-cost eviction services throughout the state!