So, it seems this Coronavirus thing is here to stay huh?
If you are in California, you know that one of the major issues impacted by Covid-19 relate to landlord/tenant laws. There are various rules and restrictions in place that help tenants and place severe restrictions on landlords. These restrictions are nearing an end and a wave of evictions is looming.
Here at Fry Law Corporation, we want both tenants and landlords to have a clear understanding of the process and how they can make their lives easier.
With any eviction, it starts with a 3-day or 30/60 day notice. Once that expires, the landlord is allowed to file an unlawful detainer lawsuit to evict the tenant. Once served with the eviction lawsuit, the tenant usually only has five days to respond. Once they respond, the case is set for trial and the Court hears the matter and decides who wins. There are multiple grounds for unlawful detainer and also multiple defenses. If the tenant loses, the Sheriff is ordered to come out and remove them within a week or so. The entire process after the complaint is filed and served can be from 3-5 weeks.
For Tenants: Pay your rent if you can. The laws are on your side right now but that will not be the case forever. Non-payment of rent is a pretty difficult theory of liability to overcome. Possible but extremely difficult. Additionally, if you are served, be sure to file a response. If you don’t, the landlord can get a default judgment which can take only days. You buy yourself at least a couple weeks by filing an answer with the Court. Many courts have legal advisory clinics. Do not be afraid to use them.
For Landlords: Be patient and be human. We are all going through this. If you can make accommodations great. If not, you have to do what you have to do. Keep an eye on the Court’s rules and keep open communication with your tenant. An amicable resolution is a fraction of the cost of having to file the eviction. Be sure to file and properly serve the tenant. Be sure that your 3/30/60 day notice was in compliance with the law. Most importantly, be sure your reason for eviction is legitimate (i.e. no type of discrimination/profit incentives, etc.).
There’s much more to this and it always helps to have a great lawyer on your side.