Tenant’s Response to an Unlawful Detainer in Los Angeles and San Francisco

Sometimes, the landlord/tenant relationship goes sour and the landlord must act to remove the tenant from the property. The purpose of this blog post is to summarize how a tenant may respond to the landlord’s unlawful detainer complaint in Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Unlawful detainer (evictions) in Los Angeles and San Francisco are summary proceedings, meaning they generally move much faster than most other types of court actions (many clients, however, think they still don’t move fast enough!). Because of the summary nature of the proceedings, tenants are limited in how they can respond. Tenants may only respond to an unlawful detainer by filing certain motions, demurrers, denials, and affirmative defenses. A tenant may NOT file a cross-complaint.

Landlords must be aware of the tenant’s permissible responses to an unlawful detainer action, and the Los Angeles and San Francisco landlord must be ready to oppose any unlawful tenant response.

Need help with an eviction in Los Angeles or San Francisco?  Contact the Law Office of David Piotrowski today.  Start the process of removing your bad tenant.

Read Attorney Piotrowski’s landlord book: “California Landlord Best Practices and Eviction Overview: An Easy-to-Read Guide Outlining Best Practices for California Landlords Plus a Summary of the Eviction Process.

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Landlord’s Duty to Repair Property in California – CC 1942.1

California Civil Code section 1942.1 requires the landlord to maintain the building in a habitable condition. The landlord must also repair any uninhabitable condition, install dead bolts on doors, a telephone jack with wiring, window locks, and comply with various fire codes.

The landlord is not the only person responsible for the condition of the property, however. The tenant must maintain the premises and dispose of all trash, operate all fixtures correctly, not damage the property, and use the property as a home. Civil Code 1929 also says that tenants must repair any damage that they cause to the property.

Need help with an eviction in Los Angeles or San Francisco?  Contact the Law Office of David Piotrowski.  Start the process of removing your bad tenant.

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My Tenant Filed a Motion to Quash in an Unlawful Detainer Eviction in LA or SF. Help!

If the summons or service is defective, the tenant or the tenant’s attorney may file a motion to quash service of the summons based on the court’s lack of jurisdiction over the tenant.

A tenant should only bring a motion to quash the unlawful detainer summons if there are legitimate, valid reasons to do so. Like other legal options, a motion to quash in an unlawful detainer case should not be made as a delay tactic.

The majority of unlawful detainer motions to quash are brought on the following grounds:

  • Defective service of summons. A motion to quash in an unlawful detainer should be granted when the service of process failed to comply with statutory requirements.
  • Defective complaint. A motion to quash may be proper in an eviction case if the complaint does not state a cause of action for unlawful detainer. An eviction complaint that fails to allege any element essential to an unlawful detainer action is vulnerable to a motion to quash.

Read David Piotrowski’s “Landlord Best Practices and Eviction Overview” book. If you need help with an eviction in Los Angeles or San Francisco, contact us today.

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Unlawful Detainer Eviction – Setting Aside Default Judgment in Los Angeles or San Francisco

What happens when you, the landlord, receive a default and judgment against a tenant, and then the tenant decides to file a request to set aside the default and judgment?

On the positive side, by the time the landlord already has a judgment, chances are good that the tenant is already out of the property and the landlord has possession. But by the filing of this motion, the tenant is trying to regain possession. There are a couple ways in which the court may grant the tenant’s motion to set aside the default judgment.

The court may set aside the default judgment against the tenant if:

  • The default was obtained by fraud
  • The default was due to the fault of the attorney
  • The default was due to the mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect of the party
  • The defendant never received actual notice of suit

There is a timeframe from which the tenant must make the notice to set aside the default judgment. Normally, it is 6 months from entry or default or default judgment.

If a tenant makes a motion to set aside a default judgment, the landlord should immediately oppose the motion to set aside the default. In addition, the landlord should argue that the setting aside of a default be conditioned on payment of all rent into court, for the period from when the eviction could have been obtained on the default judgment through trial. The landlord should also insist that the default be reinstated if the tenant fails to pay.

Read David Piotrowski’s “Landlord Best Practices and Eviction Overview” book. If you need help with an eviction in Los Angeles or San Francisco, contact us today.

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Eviction Courts in Los Angeles Are Becoming More Tenant Friendly

Courts in Los Angeles are becoming more tenant friendly. For example, in order to serve a tenant with an unlawful detainer eviction, the landlord is required to make several attempts to personally serve the tenant. If the tenant cannot be personally served, then the landlord has a few substitute methods to effectively serve the tenant. Until recently, these substitute methods allowed the landlord to not only serve the named tenant, but also any “unknown person(s)” who might be living at the property without the knowledge or consent of the landlord. This is no longer the case.

Several Los Angeles courts are now telling landlords that they cannot serve any “unknown person(s)” at the property if they are unable to personally serve the named tenant. This makes no sense and makes it easier for a tenant to delay the eviction case or for a third party to come forward and claim that they are a tenant at the property.

Nevertheless, landlords must deal with this issue and it is more important than ever to make sure the tenant is served properly with the unlawful detainer eviction in Los Angeles.

Need help with an eviction in Los Angeles or San Francisco?  Contact the Law Office of David Piotrowski today.  Start the process of removing your bad tenant.

Read Attorney Piotrowski’s landlord book: “California Landlord Best Practices and Eviction Overview: An Easy-to-Read Guide Outlining Best Practices for California Landlords Plus a Summary of the Eviction Process.

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