The Unlawful Detainer Procedure

To start an unlawful detainer action, you will generally need the following information:

  • A copy of the Rental Agreement and any amendments;
  • A copy of the Notice which was served (if any);
  • The name of the legal owner of the property;
  • The tenant's social security number and date of birth, if you have it; and

Once the above mention items are received the attorney will prepare the Summons and Complaint for Unlawful Detainer and have them served on the tenant via a process server. When the process server serves the tenant he/she will write a response date on the front page of the Summons which is not less than seven days and not more than thirty days from the date of service, not including the date of service or legal holidays.

The tenant has until close of business on the date indicated on the summons to respond to the complaint. If you are unable to obtain personal service on the tenant, you can then serve by posting and mailing. Service must be attempted three times before we may obtain an order from the court, allowing posting and mailing of the Summons and Complaint. If the tenant does not respond within the time limit, a default order will be obtained from the court directing the Sheriff to remove the tenants from the premises within ten days.

In the event the tenant does respond by the date he/she is given, a show cause hearing will be set. After the Show Cause Hearing, and if the court finds in the landlord’s favor, a Judgment and Writ of Restitution will be entered. Once the Judgment and Writ of Restitution are received, they are then taken to the Sheriff’s Office, and the Sheriff will then execute the Writ of Restitution upon the premises. This will give the tenant three days to vacate. Once the Writ of Restitution is entered and provided to the Sheriff, it is the landlord’s responsibility to coordinate the physical eviction if the tenant has not vacated the premises at that point.