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How to Vacate a Judgment and Stay the Enforcement of a Writ of Restitution

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If you do not deliver a written response to an eviction summons and complaint for unlawful detainer on time, or if you do not appear at a show cause hearing, then a final judgment may be entered against you and a writ of restitution may be issued. If the eviction summons required that you pay rent money into the court or file a certification by the deadline, and you did neither, a writ of restitution may also be issued. A writ of restitution directs the sheriff to physically remove you and your personal possessions from the property you are renting. This is called "enforcing the writ." A judgment states the amount of money you owe your landlord. The money owed may be collected by garnishing your wages or bank accounts, or by seizing your personal property and having it auctioned. If you receive a judgment or a writ of restitution and you believe you had a good reason for not responding to the eviction summons or appearing at the show cause hearing, you may ask the court to vacate (or withdraw) the judgment and stay (or temporarily stop) the eviction. If the court agrees that you may have had good reasons for not responding or appearing, enforcement of the writ of restitution may be stayed or postponed until a hearing on your motion to vacate the judgment is held.

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