2. After tenant receives notice, tenant must receive a copy of the eviction lawsuit or unlawful detainer. Tenant has five days to respond with an answer or another legal response to the clerk of the court in which the lawsuit was filed. It typically costs about $106 to file a written response. (If tenant can’t afford to pay the filing fee, you can request a waiver of the fee.) If tenant doesn’t file a written response to the landlord’s complaint by the end of the fifth day, the court will enter a default judgment in favor of the landlord.
3. A judge will hear and decide the case within 20 days. Before tenant appears in court, tenant should talk to a housing clinic or tenant organization, and have at least four copies of all documents intended for use as evidence. Remember that most landlords are usually represented by an attorney.
4. There must be a court judgment against tenant. It is called a writ of possession. A judgment against a tenant will be reported on the tenant’s credit report for seven years. If tenant wins, landlord may be ordered to pay the tenant's legal fees. Both parties may appeal the judgment.
5. The writ of possession orders the sheriff to remove the tenant from the rental unit, but gives the tenant five days to leave voluntarily. If tenant doesn’t leave, the sheriff can physically remove tenant and lock him or her out of the premises.