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Remove a Default

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, with assistance from legal services offices in Massachusetts
Reviewed January 2022

Did you miss your court date?

If you miss your eviction court date, the court will allow the landlord to evict you. But you can ask the court for another court date. As soon as you can, fill out the Motion to Remove Default form in this booklet and file it.

What happens if I do not show up for court?

If you do not show up for your court date or you arrive after the case is called, the court enters a "default judgment". The court decides your landlord wins the case because you did not show up for your court date. Your landlord can evict you about 2 weeks after the date you were supposed to be in court.

Ask the court for a new court date

You can ask a judge to remove the default judgment and schedule another court date. You must give the judge a good reason for missing the court date. You must also have a "legal defense" that might prevent your eviction.

If you did not file an Answer yet, read Booklet 3: Answer to learn about the legal defenses you may have. Then fill out and attach your Answer form to this motion.

Try to file your Motion to Remove Default Judgment and your Answer within 10 days of the court date you missed.

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

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