What Is the Legal Process in California for Evicting Tenants?


Quick Answer

The eviction process in California begins with the landlord giving the required notice to vacate the premise, according to the Judicial Branch of California. If the tenant fails to voluntarily move out following the issuance of this notice, then the eviction process progresses to the landlord filing an unlawful detainer suit in court. This type of summary procedure is designed to move through the courts swiftly and provides minimal times for response; usually the tenant is afford just a 5-day window to respond to the complaint, and the case is heard within 20 days after the landlord requests a trial date.

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Full Answer

In the written notice to vacate, the landlord may give the tenant steps to correct the problem that is causing the eviction, notes the Judicial Branch of California. The trial period in the unlawful detainer process lasts about an hour or so, and if the landlord wins, the tenant is given around 5 days to move out. The sheriff issues a lock-out order, and under this order, the sheriff can lock the tenant out of the home within 5 days of the date that the lock-out order is posted.

Unlawful detainer cases are generally heart in small claims court. The process can be different for special circumstances, such as when the tenant lives in a mobile home or recreational vehicle park, when the unit is a residential hotel or if the tenant works for the landlord.

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