§50-4-5. Return date in civil action; setting of trial date; failure to appear or notify.
Except as may otherwise be provided by law, each summons in a civil action shall notify the defendant that he must appear within twenty days after service of the summons upon him or that he must otherwise notify the magistrate court by that time that he wishes to contest the matter.

If the magistrate court is notified by the defendant that he wishes to contest the matter a trial date shall be set in accordance with the supervisory rules of the supreme court of appeals.

If no appearance or other notification is made within twenty days after the service of the summons on the defendant, or within such other time as may be provided by law, judgment by default may be entered in accordance with the provisions of section ten of this article.

At any trial in any matter involving unlawful entry and detainer and in the trial of any case in any way involving the possession, use or control of rental property, it is permissible for a party to plead, prove and obtain judgment for all rent due and owing the party.