Understanding Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit


Unlawful detainer: how bad is it? You have probably heard of this phrase, but you did not quite understand what it means and when, as a tenant, you can be termed under this category. The situation can at times be awful and easy depending on your specific case. What does it mean? This is a legal eviction action taken by your landlord against you if you break any lease terms.

The eviction process only gets to this drastic move if all the other options fail and it will most certainly result to you moving out of the property. However, you can avoid going to the court by doing the right thing and ensuring that you do not get on the wrong side of housing rules. Here is everything you as a tenant need to know about unlawful detainer and California unlawful detainer lawsuit.

Why did the landlord serve me?

The most probable answer as to why you were served with unlawful detainer is probably because you continued to live in the property even after the expiry of your lease. It could also be because you did not pay your rent for a prolonged period or you violated the lease agreement. The violation may include the keeping of pets in a property where they are not allowed or if you are a nuisance to the neighbours. You can also be served with unlawful detainer if you do an illegal thing around the apartment such as selling illegal drugs in the property. Regardless of the reason, failure to move after being issued with an eviction notice leads to being served with the unlawful detainer not only for committing these wrongdoings but also due to failure to respond to the notice. It merely means that you made a mistake and the landlord is holding you accountable for it.

How do you avoid the serving?

The good thing is that it is easy to escape from the serving. You only have to move from the property, and the case will be dismissed. The unlawful detainer lawsuit is solely about the occupation of the apartment, and you can, therefore, avoid it by moving out. In a case of damages to the condo and late or failure to pay rent the landlord will file for a different kind of lawsuit.

Responding to the lawsuit

The action of unlawful detainer is always the last option to make you get out of the apartment immediately. It is therefore likely to happen very fast. You will be given five days after being served the detainer to file a response. The court will issue the response form and if you have any complaints about how the eviction process was done, a trial day will be set within 20 days to listen to your case. The judge may rule in or against your favor and therefore, to avoid these uncertainties, you can choose to move out of the apartment instead. Note that the unlawful detainer does not include cases about rental losses, security deposits or any complaints you may have against the landlord.

How do you settle the situation?

If you fail to respond to the serving within five days, the landlord, through the assistance of the sheriff will have to evict you immediately. It is therefore critical that you take the unlawful detainer seriously by responding to it if you can. It is, therefore, recommendable that you handle the issue outside the court as this gives you chances to rent the property in future. It also helps save money and time. If the case is taken to court and the judge rules in the landlord’s favor, you can still appeal in court. If you are in a hard situation to vacate the property, you can still request for time extension to stay in the property as long as the landlord is okay with the decision.

Unlawful detainer is an awful process, and the best way to deal with it is avoiding to be served in the first place. How do you do this? Avoid committing any illegalities, pay rent on time, do not disturb the tenants and follow all the terms of the lease. Unlawful detainer is uncommon, and you have to commit serious violations over and over. Why not be a good tenant instead and enjoy the services offered by the property owner.

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