Our attorneys at Fry Law Corporation are dedicated to obtaining justice on behalf of tenants being wrongfully evicted. Our attorneys are extremely knowledgeable and well-versed in all aspects of landlord tenant eviction litigation.
Fry Law Corporation has been a successful advocate on behalf of numerous tenants who have defended eviction claims due to discrimination (including disability, race and gender), retaliation (including making valid complaints only to be served with an eviction action) and otherwise wrongful termination.
HOW EVICTION WORKS
California is known as an anti-self-help state. In the past, it was not improper for landlords to physically evict tenants when they deemed it appropriate. No notice, no rules. In California, tenants enjoy a variety of rights including the right to appropriate notices, to be free from discrimination and to be able to voice concerns without being retaliated against.
If a landlord wants to evict, they must provide appropriate notice to the tenant. If the tenant does not respond to the notice, the landlord can file what’s known as an unlawful detainer complaint. It’s essentially an eviction lawsuit against the tenant asking the Court to issue an order that they have to leave the property. The tenant has an opportunity to file an answer (usually within 5 days) that agrees with or disputes the allegations and sets forth whatever affirmative defenses the tenant wants to raise to the Court. The Court then sets the case for trial where it hears the evidence and decides if the eviction is lawful or not. The process is quick and can take less than a month in some instances.
If the Court sides with the landlord, it will issue an order that the Sheriff will ultimately serve when they come to change the locks. If the tenant wins, the case is dismissed and the landlord must fix whatever issue the Court had a problem with and attempt to re-file (if fixable).
DEFENSES TO EVICTION LAWSUITS (UNLAWFUL DETAINER)
One of the primary defenses is discrimination. In California, the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), provides a list for protected classes, meaning it is unlawful for a landlord to evict or discriminate against an tenant, based on their membership in that protected class.
The FEHA protects individuals from discrimination by landlords based on their race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age (over 40), mental and/or physical disability, sex, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or other related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, medical condition, genetic condition, marital status and military and veteran status.
California law also makes it illegal for a landlord to retaliate against an tenant for asserting their rights under the law. This area of the law, can be referred to as a whistleblower. Whistleblowers draw attention to discrimination, unlawful conduct, and/or violations of the lease or safety issues. It is unlawful for a landlord to retaliate against a tenant who reports any such conduct.
Another major defense to an eviction lawsuit is when there is a breach of the warranty of habitability. In every lease, there is an implied warranty and representation that the property is habitable. That means that it has the basics required to live there in modern day comfort and enjoyment. The most common violations of this warranty are the presence of bugs, rats, vermin, etc., the existence of mold or other contaminants and issues with no running water.
Finally, a more common defense is improper notice. As discussed above, landlords are required to give appropriate notice before evicting. That can be 30 or 60 or more days. A failure to strictly comply with these timelines will get an eviction lawsuit dismissed.
Don’t wait to Call a Lawyer
If you feel that you have been the victim of a wrongful eviction, it is not advisable that you wait too long to avoid missing deadlines. Additionally, many wrongful eviction cases involve multiple claims that may have their own statute of limitations, so it is best to seek advice as soon as possible.
Though the facts and circumstances surrounding each case make it nearly impossible to provide a concrete price quote. In some instances, cases are taken on a contingency basis (no fee unless you win).
No matter what, Fry Law Corporation strives to ensure everyone has access to an attorney. As such, we offer very competitive rates and in some instances will price-beat competitors quotes.
Very rarely do clients need to go elsewhere because of the cost.
Call, click or email for a no obligation consultation so we can see what works for you.