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When your landlord initiates legal action, you may receive a Summons through personal service, certified mail, or posting on your door. Seek legal advice promptly to understand your rights and obligations when served with a Summons.


Last updated 06/22/2023

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Methods of Summons delivery

The way you receive a Summons to court is called “service.” You may receive a Summons by personal service, in the mail, or by posting.

Personal service

A sheriff or special process server comes to your home and gives a summons to you or a member of your household who is over 15 years old. You should appear in court if you receive your summons by personal service. By appearing, you give yourself a chance to tell your side of the story to the judge.

If there is personal service of the Summons, and you do not show up in court, your landlord may get a default judgment against you for all of the money the landlord claims you owe. The court may also give your landlord a judgment for possession, which will give your landlord the right to have the sheriff evict you from your home without any further notice to you.

Certified mail

You receive a Summons and Petition or Complaint in the mail


You receive a Summons and Petition or Complaint posted on your door. If a Summons is served by posting it must also be sent to you by U.S. Mail.