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Los Angeles Eviction

One of the most unpleasant parts of owning rental properties is handling an eviction. As a landlord, you will lose money on an eviction- in this situation you are trying to minimize your losses.

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Evictions are a last resort. When everything else fails you have no choice but to evict. If the writing is on the wall for an eviction there is no sense wasting time to get started – nasty evictions can take several months.

If your property is under Los Angeles rent control – you will need Just Cause for an eviction. The most common reasons for eviction are:

-Tenant’s failure to pay rent.

-Tenant broke the terms of the lease.

-Tenant damaged the Property.

-Tenant used the property to carry out illegal activities or tenant has become a nuisance.

No-Fault Tenant evictions such as Owner Occupancy Evictions (LINK) and Ellis Act Evictions have a different process than a standard eviction.

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Table of Contents

1. How much do Evictions Cost?

2. How long does an eviction take?

3. Los Angeles Eviction Process

3.1 serve an eviction notice

3.2. File unlawful detainer

3.3. Tenant files Answer

3.4. Trail

3.5. Writ of Possession + Sherif Lockout

4. Los Angeles Eviction Lawyers

5. How long do evictions stay on the record?

 

How much do Evictions Cost?

Some costs associated with evictions:

  • Legal fees
  • Lost rent of 3-6 months
  • Turn cost to make unit rent ready again
  • Any damage to the property caused by tenant in excess of the security deposit

 

How Long Does an Eviction Take?

Los Angeles Eviction Process

Evictions appear on credit reports. Tenants with an eviction on their credit report have a black mark on their record. These tenants with an eviction history will have difficulty finding a new place to rent. An eviction case becomes public record 60 days after the ruling.

http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp/selfhelp-housing.htm

 

 

 

 

Step 1: Serving the Eviction Notice

 The first step to any eviction is posting written notice to the tenant. There are specific posting requirements http://www.evict123.com/serving.html . The timeline of the notice depends on what is the reason for the eviction. In the instance where the tenant has failed to pay rent, you may use a “Three (3) Day Notice to pay or Quit” and in the case where a tenant was violating the lease, such as being a serious nuisance and disturbing other tenants you may post a “Three (3) Day Notice to Perform or Quit”. If the notice is not correctable, then a 30-day or 60-day or 90-day notice is used. If you have already filed your 30 or 60 day notice with LA HUD while complying with RSO, then once that time line has elapsed you may immediately move to the next step of the eviction process: filing an unlawful detainer.

Posted notice to pay or quit

The Notice must be properly served to the tenant. Methods to Serve notice are:

  1. Personally deliver (how have someone over the age of 18 deliver) notice to the tenant + send it to them via certified mail
  2. Send notice via certified mail + post notice on their door (take a dated picture of the posted notice for your records at the time of posting)

EXAMPLE FORMS:

3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit Form – Tenant has not paid rent when rent is due.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZjeQNqbX74[/youtube]

3 Day Notice to Remedy Breach– tenant has breached the lease (example: lease says ‘no pets’ and now tenant has a pet, the tenant has subleased their apartment without authorization, unauthorized storage), damaged the property, has been a serious nuisance to other tenants or neighbors (creating loud noise, throwing parties), using the rental for illegal purposes such as selling drugs, tenant who has no lease or is on month to month lease and refuses to sign a 1 year lease.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TmlJ8dnB2U&feature=plcp[/youtube]

30 Day Notice to Vacate– Landlords giving tenant notice to end month to month lease. (if the Property is for sale, is a house or condo, and is in escrow, a 30 day notice to vacate may be used instead of 60 day).

60 Day Notice to Vacate– Landlord giving tenant notice to end month to month lease where the tenant has rented the property for a year or more.

Step 2: Filing an Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit

 

An Unlawful Detainer is a lawsuit that is filed with the civil court. The filing fee for an unlawful detainer varies from $250 to $400 depending on the amount of damages- hiring an attorney will cost $600 or more. To file an unlawful detainer you will need to hire an eviction attorney. Unlawful Detainer usually take 30 days if they go to court and only 15 days if the unlawful detainer action is uncontested. Once an Unlawful detainer has been filed, the tenant has 5 days to respond- if they do not file an answer, they cannot appear in court, and you will win by default judgment with no trial.

The tenant may respond to the unlawful detainer by filing an “answer”. Should the tenant answer then a trial date will be set. The court clerk must schedule a trial within 20 days of request.

filing an unlawful detainer (fancy name for eviction lawsuit). Tell your tenant “when you did/do ______, you are in violation of the lease. You have X days to find a new place, pack up your things and move out. Otherwise I will contact my eviction attorney and begin an eviction. An eviction goes on your credit report for seven years and it will be hard for you to find a new place to live- I’d like to avoid that so hopefully we can solve this problem ourselves without the need for an eviction.”

If the tenant doesn’t voluntarily vacate the unit the first step to begin an eviction is posting written notice. **WARNING** If you have never posted a notice before I strongly recommend hiring an eviction attorney to do it for you. These notices have very specific information that must be included on them and if you make a mistake, you will have served a defective notice which will not stand up in court. Some examples of common mistakes on 3 day notices are putting late fees as money owed- you can only put the rent. Another mistake is not filling out the business hours and times that rent can be delivered.

There are two different types of notices; notices that are correctable (such as pay rent or remedy breach) and non-correctable (landlord is moving into a unit, notification of termination of tenancy, or property is being demolished). For eviction notices that are correctable, the law requires 3 day notice. If the notice is not correctable, then a 30-day or 60-day is required.

 

An unlawful detainer lawsuit is a “summary” court procedure. This means that the court action moves forward very quickly, and that the time given the tenant to respond during the lawsuit is very short.

When the time period of your notice is expired, you may file an unlawful detainer lawsuit with the civil court. The filing fee for an unlawful detainer varies from $250-$400.

Hire an eviction attorney! They cost $600-$1,000 and are worth every cent. Your eviction attorney can file the unlawful detainer and make sure your 3 day notice is not defective. Unlawful Detainer usually take 8-10 weeks to get a ruling if they are uncontested and 12-14 weeks if they are contested. Once an Unlawful detainer has been filed, the tenant has 5 days to respond- if they do not file an answer, they cannot appear in court, and you will win a default judgement.

Step 3: If Tenant Files an Answer

The tenant may respond to the unlawful detainer by filing an “answer”. Should the tenant answer then a trial date will be set. The court clerk must schedule a trial within 20 days of request.

Step 4: Trail

Eviction trials are short- they usually take less than an hour.

Prepare before going to court. Make sure you have read up on the relevant law relating to your case, have the rental agreement, payment slips, pictures, and any other evidence ready to submit. Talk with any witnesses that will collaborate your story and schedule them to testify, if you are relying on someone elses testimony make sure they appear- your testimony of speaking in their words can be ruled out as heresay. Most importantly let your lawyer handle the proceedings and show up early the day of the trial, you case might be bumped and you don’t want to miss it.

Step 5: Writ of Possession + Sheriff Lockout

Eviction trials are short- they usually take less than an hour.

Prepare before going to court. Make sure you have read up on the relevant law relating to your case, have the rental agreement, payment slips, pictures, and any other evidence ready to submit. Talk with any witnesses that will collaborate your story and schedule them to testify. Perhaps even sit in on an unlawful detainer proceeding to see how the trial runs. Most importantly let your lawyer handle the proceedings and show up the day of the trial, you may want to show up early- because you may be able to reach a settlement with your tenant before the trial.

Only a sheriff may legally remove a tenant from a tenancy. It may be tempting to intimidate or try to physically remove the tenant yourself- or change the locks and lock the tenant out, cut off the utilities, or remove their front door. If you try a strong armed tactic like this, the tenant can file a complaint with rent control, and you may find yourself in hot water. Let the sheriff handle the eviction- if the tenant wants to fight with the sheriff, they will be resisting arrest and assaulting an officer, and losing their leasehold will be the least of their worries.

As the landlord who has won an eviction case, then the sheriff will post a 5 day notice to move out on the tenant’s door. 5 days from this posting the tenant must be moved out or the sheriff will come and physically remove them. This is called a lock out. When the Sheriff removes the tenant, you may change the locks with your locksmith and regain possession of the unit. Any of the tenants belongings that are left behind may immediately be moved into storage. You will have to make an itemized list of the personal property. The tenant must have access to retrieve his belongings. You cannot withhold the tenants belongs until they pay back rent. If the tenant does not show up to get his belongings, you can begin the process of having his belongings declared abandoned.

 

The sheriff is the only person who may legally remove a tenant from a their rental. It may be tempting as landlord to try to physically remove the tenant yourself- or change the locks, cut off the utilities, or remove their front door. If you try a strong armed tactic like this, the tenant can file a complaint and you may find yourself in hot water. Let the eviction attorney and sheriff handle the eviction- if the tenant wants to fight with the sheriff, they will be resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.

As the landlord who has won an eviction case, the court will order the sheriff to take possession of the rental. The sheriff will post a 5 day notice to move out on the tenant’s door. During this time the tenant can voluntarily leave. After 5 days from this posting the tenant must be moved out or the sheriff will come and physically remove them. This is called a lock out. When the Sheriff removes the tenant, you may change the locks immediately with your locksmith and regain possession of the unit. Any of the tenants belongings that are left behind may immediately be moved into storage. If the tenant does not show up to collect their belongings, you can have them declared abandoned.

Los Angeles Eviction Lawyers

You don’t have to hire a Los Angeles Eviction attorney to file an unlawful detainer but I highly recommend you do. The state of California provides all sorts of free resources to tenants, so if the tenant files an answer and contests they will probably have an attorney or advocate advising them for free. This puts you at a disadvantage, and unfortunately you will have to pay for your lawyer. The main reason I recommend landlords to hire an eviction attorney is the opposing counsel will be looking for any procedural filing errors to get the case dismissed on a technicality. One of the more common reasons I see cases dismissed is because you are not displaying the Rent Stabilization Notice somewhere on the property.  Another common one I see is for landlords who add a late fee onto the owed rent on the 3 day notice to pay or quit. You are not allowed to add late fees to the 3 day notice. If you file a defective notice your case could be thrown out.

Here is a list of forms from the State if you want to represent yourself ( Search: Unlawful Detainer)

www.courts.ca.gov/forms

LIST

Dennis Block and Associates

1-800-773-8428
323-938-2868

Free Forms
http://www.evict123.com/forms.htm

Dennis has filed over 130,000 evictions since 1980

Grayce Long
Liddle & Liddle
Lauren Hollenbeck
Monique Rad
monique@theradfirm.com
Not Attorneys
charges $799 for eviction under $10,000
and $1,124 or something for eviction with rent due up to $25,000
http://www.nussbaumapc.com/

How long do evictions last on the record?

In Los Angeles eviction files can be sealed fairly easily by the tenant making a request so there is a good chance no eviction record will be recorded. 

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