An Order to Show Cause or an OSC is a party’s right to go to court and ask the judge for a request. The requesting party must have the right to bring an OSC approved by the judge, then serve the other party with a copy of the OSC. When the judge approves the right for a party to bring an OSC, the judge will also advise how and when the other party must be served as well as set a return date when both parties must appear in court to argue whether the judge should grant the OSC or deny it.

In the context of a landlord-tenant proceeding, an Order to Show Cause or an OSC typically involves a tenant going to court to request that the judge approve the tenant’s request. The tenant’s request may involve a request for additional time to either make a payment under a stipulation or additional time to vacate the premises beyond any required vacate date.

OSCs may be requested at any time, even after an eviction, though the time when an OSC is brought will impact the judge’s ultimate determination as to whether to approve the tenant’s request to bring one or to grant the OSC.

A party may also bring an OSC to vacate a default should a party have failed to appear in court when required to do so. This may occur because a party alleges they were not properly served and did not know that they had to appear on such date. It may also occur if a law firm improperly calendars the date or time of a court appearance and inadvertently defaults.

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