Tenants

What is an unlawful detainer action?

Landlords and tenants can have disagreements. If they cannot work it out, they may end up in court. This section does not talk about everything a landlord and tenant may disagree about. It mainly talks about who has the right to live at the property.

Eviction cases are called "Unlawful Detainer" cases. Unlawful Detainer cases are complicated. Talk to a lawyer to make sure all your rights are protected and that everyone does what they are supposed to do. Look at the list of other places to get help below. If you are a defendant in an unlawful Detainer case, you may refer to the Evictions:Tenant page for more information.

Evict someone from their home or workplace

An Unlawful Detainer action is a special court proceeding. It is a legal way to evict someone from the place where they live or work. This usually happens when a tenant stays after the lease is expired, the lease is canceled, or the tenant has not paid their rent.

Disagreement has to be about the tenant moving out

An Unlawful Detainer decides if the landlord can take the property back from the tenant. The landlord is the plaintiff. The tenant is the defendant.

Only the sheriff can physically evict someone

If the landlord wins the case, they will get a "judgment" and the tenant has to move out. The Sheriff can enforce this judgment. This means the Sheriff can physically make the tenant leave.

Expedited proceeding

An Unlawful Detainer case is fast. Usually, the defendant has 5 days to file a response. You can have a trial 20 days after that. In general, the defendant cannot file a cross complaint (counter-sue).

You can begin the process of preparing your paperwork, here