New Law Makes Taking a Default Judgment Against Tenants More Difficult

A recently enacted law requires all plaintiffs, including landlords, to provide evidence that defendants, including tenants, are not in military service before taking a default judgment.  This affects virtually all civil actions, including evictions.   

Alternatively, the landlord may submit a declaration establishing that the landlord has no knowledge as to whether the tenant is in the military.  Presumably, though the statute does not so state, courts will require a showing of diligence on the part of the plaintiff to ascertain the military status of the tenant. 

The statute is silent as to just what sort of supporting facts will suffice to establish that the defendant is not in the military or that after a diligence effort the plaintiff is unable to ascertain the military status of the tenant.  It is therefore up to each court to decide on a case by case basis. As this law is freshly minted, there is little to suggest what types of supporting evidence will gain currency.