What do you put on an “answer” to a tenant eviction summons for non-payment and how long does it take to get a court date?

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What do you put on an “answer” to a tenant eviction summons for non-payment and how long does it take to get a court date?

We fell behind on our rent payments. We tried to pay December’s rent on December 22nd and were told by the rental office that it had already been sent to the attorney for eviction. We would really like to keep our place. The eviction summons has been filed however, we have not been served yet. We have December’s rent and we will deposit it with the clerk. I just don’t know how to prepare an answer and request and court date. What usually goes on the answer and how long does it take to get a court date?

Asked on January 2, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In the Answer, you would deny the allegations in the Complaint.  The Complaint is the lawsuit attached to the Summons.  At the law library, look for Answer to Complaint in the index of Pleading and Practice.  This will give you the general format for an Answer and will also provide sample Answers to various types of Complaints.  At the end of the Answer, you will see the Verification.  The Verification attests to the veracity of your statements in the Answer.  The Verification is signed under penalty of perjury.  File the Answer to the Complaint with the court with an attached proof of service.  The proof of service verifies the date of mailing to the opposing attorney.  You can use a court form proof of service or you can write your own.  If you write your own proof of service, it just says that you are over 18, and the attached document (Answer to Complaint) was sent via first class mail unless specified otherwise to __________ (name and address of opposing attorney) on _______ (date).  The date of mailing should be the same date you sign the proof of service and the same date you file it with the court.  You sign the proof of service under penalty of perjury.

As for how long until a court date, this depends on the court's schedule and the extent of litigation involved in the case.


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