Our Eviction Court System – the Wild, Wild West!

California court system, the wild wild west

Over the last 5 years, the Los Angeles Superior Court system has suffered approximately 60 million dollars in cutbacks and have had to lay off a quarter of court employees. This has hindered how unlawful detainers are handled causing, at times; paralyzing delays to your eviction cases. Another thing to keep in mind is that LA is the epicenter of tenant aid organizations causing additional delays. On average, it takes at least 3 court appearances before getting a verdict on an unlawful detainer cause and it doesn’t often go your way.

The California eviction court system really has become the Wild, Wild West. You just never know how contested cases are going to go. Out of 4 cases under very similar circumstances, I’ve had different decisions by a judge citing 4 different reasons. I’ve begun to wonder if the law even matters. Judges have a lot of discretion while deciding a case and often times seem like they are willing to bend over backwards to help tenants.

Delay tactics tenant aid organizations use

There are five Los Angeles County courts that handle unlawful detainers which are downtown Los Angeles, Long Beach, Lancaster, Pasadena and Santa Monica. When you file your unlawful detainer in any of these courts, tenant aid organizations will purposefully contest the case and as for a trial hearing for more than 20 minutes. Now you will be assigned to Dept 1 in downtown LA in which you will be assigned a random court to hear your case. It doesn’t matter where you filed! If you file in Santa Monica, you can be sent to Van Nuys, etc.

With the cutbacks in funding mentioned in the first paragraph, you’d think it would hinder state funded tenant aid organizations such as BASTA – but this is not the case. Tenants backed by these organizations are increasing at an alarming rate and they will do anything and everything to delay your case such as send out ridiculous amounts of discovery and request a jury trial. If your tenant is being represented by one of these organizations, expect many delays. On average, these type of cases may need 3 or more court appearances to get resolved.

Landlord recommendations to avoid evictions

The best way to defeat these types of tenants and organizations is to prevent eviction from the get go.

  • Screen your tenants thoroughly.
  • Take a lot of pictures of your rental unit before the tenant moves in.
  • Inspect your unit at least twice a year.
  • Before filing for an eviction, inspect your unit and fix any habitability issues.
  • Does your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector work properly?
  • Use a tenant ledger!
  • Limit attorney fee provisions to $500 USD in your rental agreement. This can deter these organizations from trying to wipe you out!

At Fast Eviction Service, help on any of the issues discussed in this article is simply a click or phone call away. Email intake@fastevict.com or call our office at (800) 686-8686 to discuss your questions for a free evaluation of your case.

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