Landlords: Tenant Can Choose to Respond to the Complaint (Step 5 of 7)
Once the tenant is properly served with the Summons and the Complaint, the tenant has time to respond. The tenant can choose not to respond at all, to respond with an Answer, or respond by filing in court some other legally valid paper. Whether the tenant responds and how will then determine what your next step is.
WAIT THE REQUIRED TIME FOR THE TENANT TO RESPOND
How long the tenant has to respond depends on how the tenant was served.
If the tenant was served in person, the tenant has 5 days to respond. Weekends are counted (holidays are not), but the 5th day must be a work day. So if the 5 days run out on a Saturday or Sunday, the tenant has until the end of the day on Monday (or the end of the day on Tuesday if Monday is a court holiday) to file a response.
Substituted Service or Posting and Mailing
If the tenant was served by substituted service or “post and mail,” the tenant has 15 days after the date the server mailed the court papers to file a response. The date of mailing is the postmark date.
More Than 1 Tenant
If there is more than 1 defendant (tenant), there could be different deadlines if they were served in different ways or on different days. You have to keep track of the deadline for each defendant.
The tenant may or may not file a response, which will then determine what your next step is.