Unlawful Detainer litigation is California is designed to be very fast. As a result, a defendant or unnamed occupant only has 5 calendar days to respond to a complaint. Consider the following three things when responding:
1. Respond in a timely manner. It is important to respond in a timely manner. If you fail to respond within the time alloted the plaintiff (landlord or landlord’s agent) can enter a default against you and cut off your right to dispute the unlawful detainer.
2. Pay your jury fees. To preserve your right to jury trial, you must file your $150.00 jury fee deposit at least 5 days before the date set for your trial. As a matter of practice, I suggest you file your jury fee deposit and serve a notice of the same at the time you file your answer. This may help you settle the matter and preserves your right to a jury trial.
3. Request a trial date. If finding time to go to court will be a problem for you due to a busy work schedule, then it is a good idea to be the first party or side to request a jury trial. The judicial council form allows you to advise the court of dates when you are not available. Thus, by filing the request first, you can hopefully control when your trial will be.
Schorr Law offers dedicated unlawful detainer representation. We represent both landlords and tenants and know the intricacies of the very detail oriented process. Contact us for help. www.schorr-law.com.