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What To Do If You Get Eviction Court Papers

If your landlord gave you a termination notice, and you did not move out by the move-out date in the notice, your landlord can take you to eviction court to force you to move out. In Oregon, eviction cases are called forcible entry and detainers (FEDs). 

Read the papers carefully! The papers will tell you when and where you need to go to court for your first eviction hearing.

It's very important that you go to this first hearing. If you miss the hearing, you could end up with an eviction on your record—even if you have already moved out.

You should also get legal help as soon as possible. Eviction laws are complicated and eviction cases move very quickly. What you should do next depends on your particular case. You can find free and low-cost lawyers using our Referral Database.

A process server or a sheriff will give you a copy of the court papers. When you get handed court papers, this is called service. 

The court papers will be called "Residential Eviction Complaint," and "Residential Eviction Summons." 

A process server or sheriff must serve you with a copy of these papers by:

  • Handing them to you at your rental, or
  • Posting them on your door and mailing a copy to you.

The summons says when and where you will have your first eviction hearing. The summons includes additional information about your rights and options. 

The complaint lists the reasons why your landlord wants to evict you The complain must have a copy of your termination notice attached to it. 

Note: On the court papers, your landlord is called the plaintiff, and you are the defendant. 

If you don't want an eviction on your record, go to court on the date and time listed in the summonsThis is called the First Appearance. For more on First Appearance hearings, go here

  • For nonpayment cases, the court date should be about two weeks after the landlord files the papers. 

  • For other cases, the court date should be about a week after the landlord files the papers.

Some courts will let you show up by phone or on the internet. Read the summons carefully to see if that is an option at your court.

Your landlord may automatically win—even if you already moved out! This means you will have an eviction on your record. You may also have to pay your landlord’s court costs and fees for the eviction case. 

If you miss your First Appearance for a good reason, you may be able to ask the court to set aside (cancel) the eviction on your record. You can contact the Eviction Defense Project for help with this process. Or, you can ask court staff for court forms for "seting aside an eviction judgment." 

Yes, but you should still go to the First Appearance hearing. If you don't show up to tell the court you moved out, your landlord could win automatically. You could end up with an eviction on your record. You may also have to pay your landlord's court fees.  

You may be able to fight your eviction if you have a defense. A defense is a legal reason why you shouldn't be evicted. Go here for more information on defenses to an eviction case.

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