From the start, the landlord serves a Notice to Quit. There are three types of notices: three (3) day, thirty (30) day, and sixty (60) day notices. Each notice is used in different situations. If a landlord uses an improper notice, then the tenant can use the improper notice as a defense in the unlawful detainer action.
After the service of the specific notice, the landlord files the Unlawful Detainer in a Superior Court. The initial paperwork is called the Summons and Complaint. The landlord is the “plaintiff” and the tenant is the “defendant”. Once the landlord files the Summons and Complaint, the documents have to be served on the tenant. There are several ways to serve the tenant, but the best way to serve the tenant is by personal service.
After the tenant is “served”, the tenant has a short time to respond to the Summons and Complaint. In most cases, the time in which a tenant has to file the Answer is five court days. After the tenant responds, the next step is to have a “trial” set for the court to hear the parties’ stories.
If the court finds in favor of the tenant, the tenant will not be evicted. The tenant may also be awarded a sum of money for costs that the tenant had for the court process, including attorney’s fees.
If the court finds in favor of the landlord, the landlord may be awarded unpaid rent as a judgment, along with costs and attorney’s fees. In the case that a landlord wins, the court issues a writ of possession.
If the tenant does not move out, then the writ of possession gives the sheriff the authority to physically remove the tenant and lock out the tenant. The sheriff can also take the tenant’s belongings, which have been left.
However, at no time during this process is the landlord allowed to physically remove the tenant, lock out the tenant, or remove the tenant’s belongings. For more information, you can visit the Department of Consumer Affairs.
Unlawful detainers have very strict procedural rules. Contact Bristol, Haynes & Associates at (909) 985-5522 before filing an Unlawful Detainer or if you believe you are about to be evicted.
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