If you are a landlord and your tenant has been served and the time allotted for your tenant to respond in court has expired you can ask the court to enter a default judgment against your tenant.
A default judgment must be entered on a tenant after the five-day clock for service of process expires (assuming the tenant was served by personal service) on application by the landlord according to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1169.
What are the steps you need to take to get a default judgment?
If your tenant has not responded to service of the summons and complaint you will need to get a copy of the proof of service from the sheriff, process server, or another qualified individual over the age of 18 who is not a party to the case and has served your unlawful detainer summons and complaint.
Once you have this document get the form request for entry of default which is Judicial Council Form CIV-100.
Page 1 of the Request for Entry of Default
Step One - Filing out the request for entry of default.
Once you have a request for entry of default or Judicial Council Form CIV-100, begin at the top and fill in your name, address, and telephone number as well as the case number of the eviction lawsuit in the right-hand corner.
Below the top put in the court's address where you filed the unlawful detainer complaint.
Under that section check the two boxes where it says REQUEST FOR; check entry of default and Clerk’s Judgment. Do not check court judgment. Before you request a court judgment you should get a clerk’s judgment to speed up the time it takes to get back your premises. You can request a court judgment later.
Section 1 needs the following:
1a put the date the eviction lawsuit was filed. You can get this information from looking at the eviction lawsuits filing date.
1b. Write down who filed the complaint. If the complaint was filed by Larry Landlord. Print Larry Landlord’s name.
1c. Put down the name or names of the tenants who did not respond to the lawsuit. If your tenants were served and filed a response in court do not bother filing a default judgment. It will be rejected and the request will be a waste of your time. If you have two tenants and only one responded to the lawsuit you can still ask the clerk to enter a default against the tenant that did not respond.
1d. Skip this section as it is for court judgments which should generally not be asked for while your tenant is in the premises still. You want possession first.
1e. Check the box where it says Enter Clerk’s Judgment as well as subsection (1) which asks for restitution of the premises. Check the box directly under that if you had a prejudgment claim of right to possession served by a sheriff or process server.
Only a sheriff or process server can serve the prejudgment claim of right to possession to evict all unknown occupants. One thing to note is that service of the prejudgment claim of right gives all unknown occupants ten days to respond instead of five. Also, service of this document does not evict all unknown occupants if you are evicting after a foreclosure sale.
The Clerk will not enter a default judgment against unknown occupants unless you have a proof of service from a registered process server or sheriff and the time for unknown occupants to respond has expired.
Leave subsections 1e(2) and 1e(3) blank as they should not apply to your eviction.
Section 2 of the Request for entry of default can be generally left blank.
Since you are not applying for a court judgment section 2 can be blank.
Section 3 of Civ-100 either needs to be checked or unchecked.
If you had help from an unlawful detainer assistant they should fill out section 4 and check this box as yes. If you are an attorney or representing yourself check box three but leave the next pages box 4 without any information.
Page 2 of the Request for Entry of Default
Section 4 of the request for entry of default is needed for unlawful detainer assistants.
Since this guide is not written for unlawful detainer assistants. If you did not use an unlawful detainer assistant check the box you did not use one and move on.
Section 5 is a required Declaration
In this section, check the following boxes that state:
This is NOT an installment for goods or sales.
This is NOT a conditional sales contract.
This is NOT an obligation for goods services or loans.
Section 6 is mandatory and the Declaration of Mailing
Check item 6b and have someone other than the plaintiff, mail the request for entry of default to the tenant, or tenant’s lawyers address.
Fill out the date it was mailed (the date you are requesting default) and the address or addresses of the tenants you are defaulting.
Make sure someone other than the landlord/plaintiff does this part and after words prints signs and dates their name.
Section 7 you can leave blank.
Yes, leave it blank. You want possession of the premises before you want a money judgment.
Section 8 is required.
In section 8 of the application for default, you need to check the box that the person you are defaulting against is not in the military service so as to be entitled to the service members relief act.
If you know your tenant is not entitled to such benefits check this box sign, date, and print your name.
Congratulations, if you have made it this far you have correctly filled out the request for entry of default judicial counsel form. Make a copy and get ready to take it to court.
Step Two in Getting a Default Judgment Against Your Tenant
After you have completed a request for entry of default correctly you can fill out the form labeled Judgment Unlawful Detainer or Judicial Council Form UD-110.
This form is much easier than filling out the request for entry of default of CIV-100.
Page 1 of Judgment for Unlawful Detainer
To begin this form fill out your name, address, and phone number on the top just the way you did on the request for entry of default and put in the case number in the right hand side of the form.
Put the court's location which should be the same as the request for entry of default and below this check the boxes below where it says JUDGMENT UNLAWFUL DETAINER that say by the clerk, by default and possession only.
If you check any other boxes your judgment is likely to be rejected.
Section 1 of UD-110 is easy;
Check the box under where it says Judgment, and check box 1 (by default) and 1d (Clerk’s judgment for possession of the premises).
After that turn, the page over Page 1 of UD-110 is done.
Page 2 of Judgment for Unlawful Detainer
On the next page where it says JUDGMENT IS ENTERED BY, check the box CLERK.
Section 3 is for the parties
The landlord is the plaintiff so put the landlord’s name as it is listed in the eviction complaint in the section for plaintiff.
In the section where it says against, write the tenant’s name as it appears in the eviction complaint.
Section 4 is where you put the premises.
In this section put the premises that you want possession of and filed the eviction to get. Make sure the premises address matches the address on the eviction complaint filed with the court.
Section 5 is to only be checked in certain circumstances.
If you had a prejudgment claim of right to possession served by a process server or sheriff check this box. If you have not had such a document served do not check this box or your judgment will be rejected.
FINAL STEP TO GETTING YOUR DEFAULT JUDGMENT - Take your documents to court and file them!
Finally take the proofs of service of summons and complaint, request for entry of default you filled out in step one, and judgment to court two hole punched with copies and give it to the court clerk.
If your paperwork is filled out properly the court will accept your paperwork and enter a default against your tenant or tenants.
If your paperwork is filled out improperly or has an error the court may accept it but later reject it and send you a notice in the mail that there was an error.
Errors happen with such tedious tasks. If so you need to redo your paperwork and enter default again do so or call our office so we can complete it.
At our office, we use automated form filling software to cut down on time and errors.
Nevertheless, the court clerks, attorneys, process servers, and judges are all human. Minor errors can be made that cost time and money. It’s best to have an attorney fill out and review your documents before even filing a lawsuit for eviction.
If your default judgment is entered you can begin the next FUN step in eviction by preparing the writ of possession and application for it.
Please feel free to comment below. If I have missed a section please shoot us an email so I can update our blog post. As always the above is not legal advice. Our goal is just to provide information for current and prospective clients of our firm.
Also if you would like these forms to visit our courts' website to download the form for a request for entry of default and default judgment by clerk do so by visiting the links below.