Major Change in the Roadmap for California Evictions

One of the most common questions landlords ask is how long does it take to evict my tenant?

Major Change in the Roadmap for California Evictions

The time it takes to evict a tenant depends on the type of eviction notice used and the location of the rental property. For this question let’s start the time line from the expiration of the Notice to Quit.

Prior to September 2019 the answer would be 45-75 days for an uncontested eviction depending on where the rental property is located – and 75-100 days for a contested eviction.

The Code of Civil Procedure Section 1161 is the major controlling provision for evicting a tenant in California. On September 1, 2019 a major change is coming to the time period it will take to evict a tenant in the State of California.

The basic change in September of 2019 is how the day that’s the expiration date of the Notice is calculated. After September 1, 2019 a landlord will no longer be able to count Saturday, Sunday and Holidays in the calculation of the time of the expiration of the Notice. Thus, if a Notice of Termination of a Tenancy is served on a Thursday it will not expire until the following Tuesday unless Monday holiday and then it will expire on the following Wednesday.

This could add up to two to three days after the Notice has been served before a landlord can file the eviction lawsuit in a California Court of Law.

Additionally, Code of Civil Procedure Section 1167 has also been amended in how the court will count the five-day period to respond to a complaint. After September 1, 2019 Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays will be excluded from the calculation of when a response to an Unlawful Detainer Summons and Complaint will be due before a default judgment against the tenant can be taken.

For example, if the Summons, Complaint and Prejudgment Claim of Right to Possession is served the day after the Notice expired and that is a Thursday, the five-day period to respond will start on the following Friday. The response date will be due in court on the following Thursday – unless Monday is a holiday. If the following Monday is a holiday, then the response will be due the following Monday.

These new rules will change how long it will take to complete an eviction in California, whether contested or uncontested.

There are four basis categories for evicting a tenant who has had a tenancy for less than full term of the rental agreement.  Each reason for eviction requires a very specific notice when calculating the time to commence an eviction.

  1. Expiration of a fixed term lease. No Notice of Termination of Tenancy is required.
  2. Non-payment of rent.
  3. Breach of a Covenant in the lease;
  4. 4. Any tenant, subtenant, or executor or administrator of his or her estate heretofore qualified and now acting, or hereafter to be qualified and act, assigning or subletting or committing waste upon the demised premises, contrary to the conditions or covenants of his or her lease, or maintaining, committing, or permitting the maintenance or commission of a nuisance upon the demised premises or using the premises for an unlawful purpose, thereby terminates the lease, and the landlord, or his or her successor in estate, shall upon service of three days’ notice to quit upon the person or persons in possession, be entitled to restitution of possession of the demised premises under this chapter. For purposes of this subdivision, a person who commits or maintains a public nuisance as described in Section 3482.8 of the Civil Code, or who commits an offense described in subdivision (c) of Section 3485 of the Civil Code, or subdivision (c) of Section 3486 of the Civil Code, or uses the premises to further the purpose of that offense shall be deemed to have committed a nuisance upon the premises.

Once the Notice to Quit has expired it is time to file the unlawful detainer lawsuit. The Unlawful Detainer lawsuit is usually filed on the forms provided by Judicial Council for the State of California except for post foreclosure unlawful detainer lawsuit that is generally prepared on 28-line pleading paper.

After the unlawful detainer lawsuit is filed it must be served on the tenants. Service on individuals can be by personal service, substitute service or service by obtaining a posting order. Substitute service or service by obtaining a posting order requires at least 3 attempts at personal service without success.

The time a Defendant must respond to the lawsuit also depends on how the Defendant(s) were served. If service was accomplished by personally serving the Defendant(s) with the Summons & Complaint the Defendant(s) must file a response to the lawsuit in five days. If service was accomplished by substitute service or by a posting order Defendant(s) have 15 days to file a response.

As stated above the time for a tenant to respond to the complaint has been expanded by the new law that will be effective September 1, 2019 because the court will no longer count Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays in the time a tenant will have to respond to the complaint.

Once the Answer is filed a decision must be made whether the landlord’s attorney wants to engage in discovery. Discovery is the process where written questions and a request to produce documents will be served on the Defendant(s) to determine the factual support for the defenses the tenant(s) have set forth in the answer.

A request for a trial date will be requested and the court clerk must set the trial in a period of ten to 20 days after the Request for Trial Date has been requested.

Depending on the congestion of each court the trial may be on the first trial date the court clerk sets or it may be continued.

If the Defendant does not file a response to the complaint a Request for Entry of Default/Default Judgment will be filed, and the court clerk will process that Request as soon as the court’s work load allows.

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

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