California Unlawful Detainer
If your landlord has served summons and filed complaint against you for breach of the lease agreement or non-payment of rent then you will have to give a response to unlawful detainer lawsuit. You only have five calendar days to respond to the lawsuit in the Court and serve a copy on the plaintiff or their attorney. In case you fail to file an answer on time, a default can be entered against you and landlord can then obtain the judgment of possession of the leased property in a short span of time. Hence, it becomes important for you to consider hiring an expert legal firm with the assistance of which you can file an appropriate response to the unlawful detainer lawsuit within the limited time allowed.
By responding to the unlawful detainer lawsuit, you can address all the issues raised as material allegations by your landlord in the complaint. Like the answers to all civil complaints, even the response to the unlawful detainer lawsuit should aim to express the defense points clearly and put forth the denials as is required to refute or invalidate the material allegations as raised by the landlord against you. If as a defendant, you do not wish to admit to the material allegations of the complaint then you it is best that you resort to the affirmative defenses to deny them. In case, you do not deny them they it would be naturally assumed that you have admitted to committing those allegations as made in the complaint.
Answer to the unlawful detainer lawsuit by the defendant should have specific responses to each of the paragraphs as mentioned in the compliant filed by the landlord. Response to the allegations can either be in the form of admittance, denials, admitting portions and denial of portions. A tenant can also deny allegations in the complaint citing lack of information or any lack of belief upon which he can deny or even admit.
Defendant when responding to the unlawful detainer should keep in mind that there is a limitation on the allowable defenses. Issues that are directly related to or are relevant to the question of
possession of the leased property allow tenant’s or defendant’s to express their denials and put forth their defenses clearly. In case, the defenses as set forth by the tenant in his answer to the unlawful detainer lawsuit are established then the tenant will retain the right to possession of the leased property.
All the necessary elements of the defenses have to be pleaded by the defendant. A notice has to be raised to the landlord pertaining to the scope and extent of the defense. Response by the defendant to the unlawful detainer lawsuit has to be verified. An unverified motion is subject to motion to strike but this has to be made within 10 days after serving the answer.