The idea of purchasing rental income properties was a great idea until the reality produces a tenant, who had made all kinds of promises to get into the property, stops paying the rent, begins to mistreat the property, or becomes the neighborhood drug dispensary. As soon as this happens, they come to me, Andrew H. Griffin, III, at the Law Offices of Andrew H. Griffin, III. I am a Real Estate attorney and broker licensed to practice law in the State of California. The question that I hear most often is “how fast can I get them out?” The answer to this question is the as most legal questions. “It Depends!”.
The timetable for evicting tenants in California depends upon the following:
- The type of Notice and the service of the Notice.
- The filing and service of the Unlawful Detainer (UD) complaint.
- The filing of a response or failure to respond to the complaint.
- The trial or default prove up.
- Obtaining the writ of execution and sheriff’s eviction.
Evictions in California are Summary Proceedings. Summary Proceedings are not bound by the same time requirements as others. The process is faster to allow landlords to obtain possession of the property and to reduce the loss of income. Even though it is a faster procedure, it is also a much stricter to prevent the Tenant from unnecessarily losing his home. This means that a Landlord can lose its case for any error, no matter how small.
Every Landlord must provide proper notice before a case is filed in court. Proper notice depends upon may factors. These factors include the alleged breach of a covenant or duty of the tenant and/or the reason that the Landlord seeks to regain possession of the property.
The time stated in a Notice, whether it’s a 3-Day, 30-Day, 60-Day or 90-Day notice, must completely run before the UD complaint can be filed with the Court. If a case is filed untimely, the Landlord could lose the case and would have to begin again, starting with providing the proper notice.
Filing and Service of the complaint
An Unlawful Detainer (UD) complaint can be filed with the Court once the appropriate notice has been served and the time has run. Once again, the pleading requirements are strict. The complaint must accurately and legally depict the allegations. The Landlord can lose a case if allegations are improperly made. The complaint must be properly served. If personally served, the tenant has 5 Days to file an answer or response with the Court. If substituted service is achieved, the 5-Day period to respond is extended to 15 days.
Failure to Answer
If personally served, the tenant has to file a response with the Court within 5 days. If the Tenant fails to answer or respond, the Landlord can file a request to enter default. Once a default is entered by the court, the tenant is prevented from objecting to the UD action unless permission is received from the court.
Trial or default Prove up
If an answer is filed, the landlord must request a trial date. The Court is required to schedule a trial date to be held within 20 days of the written request. The Landlord is required to prove entitlement to possession and/or damages in trial or if a default has been entered against the tenant.