How do you evict a roommate in California?


Quick Answer

The process for eviction in California is done through a series of notices and court proceedings, according to the Law Office of Melissa C. Marsh. The roommate's status in the home determines if the roommate can be evicted, according to FindLaw.

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Full Answer

If a roommate is on the lease, only the landlord can serve the roommate with eviction documents to start the eviction process. If the roommate is a subtenant who rents directly from the primary tenant, the primary tenant can begin the eviction process only if the roommate violates a clause of the lease, according to the City of Berkeley.

The process for eviction is the same regardless of who initiates it. The person being evicted must be served with a 3-day notice to pay or quit, a 30-day notice to vacate or a 60-day notice to vacate. If the person doesn't move out by the end of that period, the complainant, who is the person making the complaint, can file an unlawful detainer lawsuit, which the Law Office of Melissa C. Marsh notes is the formal eviction proceeding.

A defendant tenant or subtenant has five days to answer the summons and complaint once it is served to them after the lawsuit is filed. If they fail to answer, the court orders a default judgement, which requires the person to move out. If the person answers the summons and complaint, a trial can be requested to determine the final outcome of the case.

If the matter goes to trial, the court issues a judgement. If the judgment is against the defendant, that person must move out in accordance with the court order or face removal by law enforcement. Monetary damages, such as past due rent might be awarded to the complainant. If the complainant loses, no further action can be taken against the defendant for the same matter, and the roommate is allowed to remain in the dwelling.

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