Landlord Tenant Law - Tenants Rights

Landlord Tenant Law tenant rightsLandlord Tenant Law - Tenants Rights

Which brings us to tenants rights.  California attempts to strike a balance between tenants and landlords, including lenders who've become landlords by foreclosure.  However, landlords may be forgiven if they believe the consumer-as-tenant has the upper hand.  The foremost rule here is that self-help by the landlord is strictly forbidden - no changing locks, no moving the tenant's stuff out to the sidewalk, no cutting off the utilities, and no pushing the tenant out of the house.  The only method of eviction when an owner stays put after foreclosure, or when a tenant under a lease refuses to leave after failing to pay the rent, or after the lease expires is a lawsuit called unlawful detainer, and the only viable foundation for one is the absolutely perfect service of a notice to quit.  Once that is accomplished and the tenant declines to leave within three days, the landlord may file and serve the unlawful detainer lawsuit to obtain an eviction of the tenant by the sheriff.

The good news here for the landlord is that the usual time frame is compressed.  The tenant has only five days after service of the lawsuit to file a response, and on the landlord's request the court is required to hold the trial within twenty days.  The bad news for the landlord is that the tenant may file any bogus response that comes to mind, and in practice the courts are so overburdened that the 20 day rule is sometimes ignored.  Worse news is that the tenant may at this point file bankruptcy and obtain an "automatic stay" of the trial, requiring the landlord to spend money and time (perhaps several weeks) to end the stay and proceed.  If the tenant shows up for the trial the landlord suffers more delay and expense, and a judgment for possession at the end of the trial is not the end of the story.  A writ of possession must be obtained, processed by the sheriff, and served.  And the sheriff is also overburdened, so those steps may also take longer than they ideally take.  In any event the actual eviction cannot take place until at least six days after service of the writ of possession.

Foreclosures and evictions are considerably more expeditious and less hazardous for lenders and landlords elsewhere in the country.

Carlsbad Real Estate Attorney Stanley D. Prowse is a Real Estate Law Attorney that specializes in California landlord tenant law. We welcome your legal inquiries.

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