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Unlawful Detainer Actions

Tenant Information

Before a legal action is filed

Service

If you do not file a response to the complaint

If you do file a response to the complaint

Preparing for your trial

Presenting your case in court

Post trial procedures

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Before a legal action is filed

The landlord must begin the eviction process by giving you an appropriate written notice. This may either be a 3-day , 30-day notice or 60-day notice, depending on the grounds for the eviction. If you are uncertain whether you have received the appropriate notice, you should contact a legal advisor for assistance. If you do not move out by the end of the period stated in the notice, the landlord can begin the legal process by filing a Complaint with the court.

  Service

After the landlord has filed the paperwork with the court, you will be served with the Summons and Complaint. Usually this involves a process server or a deputy sheriff personally handing you this paperwork. There are, however, other means of service. Also, the landlord may not serve the paperwork him/herself. If you are uncertain whether you have been properly served, you should contact a legal advisor.  Once you have been served, you normally have only five [5] calendar days to file a response with the court. This may be an Answer or other legal pleading. Failure to take timely action will result in a default judgment being entered against you and the eviction process will move forward quickly.

  If you do not file a response to the complaint

If you fail to respond to the complaint within the allotted time, the landlord will file a Request To Enter Default, a Clerk’s Judgment For Possession and a Writ Of Possession with the court. After they have been filed with the court, the clerk will give the landlord the documents that s/he will need to take to the Kings County Sheriff’s Department Civil Division to complete the eviction. The landlord cannot personally evict you.

  If you do file a response to the complaint

You should seek legal advice to determine the appropriate response which you should file with the court. Most often, tenants choose to file an Answer to the Complaint.  When an Answer has been filed, the landlord will file additional paperwork with the court and a trial date will be set. The court will mail you a notice about the trial date once it has been scheduled.

  Preparing for your trial

You should start gathering all of the information that relates to your case.  This may include witnesses or paperwork such as the following:

  • a copy of the lease or rental agreement,
  • any letters you may have written or received about the property,
  • any receipts you have,
  • any inspection reports such as reports from the building inspector or health department,
  • photographs,
  • police reports,
  • any other documents that you think will help you convince the judge that you should not be evicted.

You will need to bring three copies of each paper with you: one for the judge, one for the landlord and one for yourself.

Organize your paperwork before you come to court so that you can easily find what you need when you are in the courtroom.  You may want to make notes for yourself so that you don’t forget to tell the judge something that you think is important.

Children are not allowed in the courtroom, so you should not bring them with you.

The court does not provide interpreters for this type of case.  If you need an interpreter to help you in court, you must bring one with you. A family member or friend may serve as your interpreter.

The court does provide assistance for hearing impaired persons.  Requests for this type of service must be made  before your court date.  Assistive listening devices are available.

  Presenting your case in court

There are a several things that you should keep in mind before entering the courtroom:

·         Dress appropriately and take pay attention to personal
     hygiene.

·         Show respect for the court; try to make a favorable impression
     with the judicial officer.

·         Do not bring food or drinks into the courtroom nor chew gum.

·         Do not read non-case related material nor sleep while in the
     courtroom.

Post trial procedures

If you have lost in court, the landlord will file a formal Judgment, Notice Of Entry Of Judgment And Writ Of Possession with the court. The clerk will send this paperwork to the judge for signature and then the documents will be returned to the landlord.

The landlord will give copies of the Writ Of Possession to the Kings County Sheriff’s Department. A deputy will give you notice that you have five [5] days to vacate the premises. Even though the landlord has a court order, s/he cannot personally evict you.

If you do not move out in the five-day period, the Sheriff will remove you from the property and change the locks.

Under limited circumstances, you may be able to get extra time to move by either speaking with the landlord or by applying for a stay order from the court. You should seek legal counsel if you feel you need additional time and the landlord is unwilling to give it to you.

 
Superior Court of California, Kings County
All contents copyright (C) 2003, All rights reserved.