Landlords must provide notice terminating tenancy prior to evicting a tenant, protecting the tenant and his belongings from being forcibly or unexpectedly removed. The length of notice varies based on the reason for the eviction, specifications in the rental agreement and local laws. Tenants cannot be evicted for reporting housing code violations or discriminatory rental practices. If a tenant does not vacate by the date indicated, the landlord must file an unlawful detainer suit with the court.
In California a three-day notice of eviction is allowed when the tenant has not paid his rent, has caused damage to the property, or engaged in criminal behavior in the rental property or against another tenant. Thirty- or 60-day notices of eviction are typical when termination of tenancy is without cause.
Tenants often can prevent eviction by paying the full amount of back rent prior to the eviction or court date. As well, a tenant may have a legal defense against eviction if the landlord did not provide proper notice of tenancy termination or is basing the eviction on a violation that is not specified in the rental agreement. Tenants may also have a legal defense for nonpayment of rent if rent was withheld in response to a housing code violation not rectified by the landlord.
Tenants have the right to present evidence and witnesses before a judge in response to a unlawful detainer suit and to request an additional week prior to vacating the premises if the suit is settled in the landlord's favor.