CCP 1171 and CCP 631 Discusses Jury Trials

 

CCP 1171 and CCP 631 both discuss jury trials. The purpose of this article is to explain how CCP 1171 and CCP 631 relate to jury trials in California unlawful detainer (eviction) cases. Before we dive in, I should note that normally the landlord will not want to request a jury trial. In most cases, an unlawful detainer case turns in to a jury trial because the tenant demanded it. Tenants sometimes demand jury trials because a jury trial will increase the landlord’s costs and expenses and a jury trial takes much more time than a bench (non-jury) trial.

CCP 1171 simply states:

Whenever an issue of fact is presented by the pleadings, it must be tried by a jury, unless such jury be waived as in other cases.  The jury shall be formed in the same manner as other trial juries in an action of the same jurisdictional classification in the Court in which the action is pending.

CCP  631, on the other hand, outlines more of the requirements and the procedure for demanding a jury trial and waiving jury trials.

Importantly, a tenant has waived a jury in the following circumstances:

  1. By failing to appear at the trial.
  2. By written consent filed with the clerk or judge.
  3. By oral consent, in open court, entered in the minutes.
  4. By failing to announce that a jury is required, at the time the cause is first set for trial, if it is set upon notice or stipulation, or within five days after notice of setting if it is set without notice or stipulation.
  5. By failing to pay the fee on time (unless there is a fee waiver).

Together, CCP 1171 and CCP 631 provides the rules for jury trials. Landlords should read through the entire text of CCP 631 for more details. The bottom line is, landlords generally should oppose jury trials, but sometimes a jury trial is unavoidable if the tenant demands it and the demand is not waived.

Want to read more on eviction jury trials? Read my earlier post: Did Your Tenant Demand a Jury Trial in a California Unlawful Detainer Eviction Case?

The Law Office of David Piotrowski can assist landlords with unlawful detainer eviction cases. We work hard to make your case proceed as quickly as possible.

Be sure to check out our reviews! We look forward to serving you. We offer a free consultation on most cases.

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Unlawful Detainer Continuance of Trial

 

Unlawful detainer continuances of the trial date should be used sparingly by landlords because, as landlord, you want the trial to be speedy with the goal of removing the tenant from the property as quickly as possible. A tenant, on the other hand, often benefits from the unlawful detainer continuance because it allows the tenant to remain at the property longer. For these reasons, generally speaking, landlords should oppose an unlawful detainer continuance of the trial date, while tenants should encourage an unlawful detainer continuance.

Unlawful detainer continuances can happen for various different reasons, including the unavailability of counsel, unavailability of a party, unavailability of  a witness, significant change in the status of the case, or surprise in the testimony. If the parties mutually agree to a continuance, generally they can file a stipulation to continue the trial and the court will usually grant it since both parties agree. However, if only one party wants to continue the unlawful detainer while the other party does not wish a delay, then the party wanting the delay will need to file a motion and show good cause for the delay, and then the court will decide whether to continue the unlawful detainer to a future date.

Unavailability of counsel is one ground for an unlawful detainer continuance. However, the court does not have to grant repeated continuances because of attorney availability. If a party is not available for a trial, the case could still technically continue. CCP 594. The party seeking a continuance needs to be able to show why the party is unable to attend the trial. Cal Rules of Ct 3.1332(c)(2). The justified unavailability of a party is good grounds for an unlawful detainer continuance. An unlawful detainer continauce may also be granted if an essential witness is unavailable because of other excusable circumstances. Cal Rules of Ct 3.1332(c)(1). However, the motion for unlawful detainer continuance due to witness unavailability needs to be supported with a declaration showing the materiality of the evidence expected to be obtained, and showing that the party was diligent in attempting to procure it. CCP 595.4. The court may also grant a continuance of the unlawful detainer trial if an amendment to the pleadings renders it necessary.

While there are other reasons for granting an unlawful detainer continuance, the foregoing are some of the more common grounds for allowing the unlawful detainer continuance. Note, however, that the court may deny a last-minute continuance even if the request is jointly made by both the landlord and the tenant.

For further reading, see CRC 3.1322.

What if the landlord opposes the unlawful detainer continuance of trial? CCP 1170.5 is the landlord’s friend in such an instance. Also, a motion of a trial may be conditioned on payment to the other party of the costs incurred by the continuance. CCP 1024.

The Law Office of David Piotrowski can assist landlords with unlawful detainer eviction cases. We work hard to make your case proceed as quickly as possible.

Be sure to check out our reviews! We look forward to serving you. We offer a free consultation on most cases.

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Civil Code 1941.2 – Tenant’s Affirmative Responsibilities

 

Civil Code 1941.2 talks a lot about what a tenant’s responsibilities are with respect to rental property in California. This is a follow up to an earlier post I wrote about Civil Code 1941.2, which can be read here. While a lot of people like to discuss the landlord’s warranty of habitability, not enough discussion is made about the duty of the tenant to maintain a safe, clean, and sanitary environment outlined in Civil Code 1941.2.

Civil Code 1941.2, also known as CC 1941.2, says that the landlord has no duty to repair a dilapidation if the tenant is in substantial violation of maintaining the property of if the tenant contributed substantially to the bad condition of the property. For example, the tenant is obligation under Civil Code 1941.2 to keep the rental property clean and sanitary. The tenant is obligation to dispose of trash and properly use all electrical, gas, and plumbing fixtures. The tenant cannot allow any other person to destroy or damage any part of the rental unit. If the tenant is found to violate any of the above, then the landlord, per Civil Code 1941.2, has no duty to repair, and the tenant’s violation of CC 1941.2 can be used by the landlord to defend against warranty of habitability claims made by the tenant.

I also want to briefly point out Civil Code 1929, which sometimes goes hand-in-hand with Civil Code 1941.2. CC 1929 states, “the hirer of a thing must repair all deteriorations or injuries thereto occasioned by his want of ordinary care.” Put another way, this means the tenant must repair any items that are damaged due to the tenant’s wrongdoing.

Is your tenant in violation of Civil Code 1941.2? You may need to evict.

The Law Office of David Piotrowski can assist landlords with unlawful detainer eviction cases. We work hard to make your case proceed as quickly as possible.

Be sure to check out our reviews! We look forward to serving you. We offer a free consultation on most cases.

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3 Day Eviction Notice for California Landlords

 

Landlords in California should use the 3 day eviction notice for non-payment of rent when their tenant owes past-due rent.  If the tenant has not paid the rent when due, the landlord should immediately serve a 3 day eviction notice. Do not wait more than one or two days to serve the 3 day eviction notice. Each day that goes by without serving the 3 day eviction notice is lost income to the landlord, and the chances of recovering that money in an unlawful detainer judgment is not high.

Here is what a 3 day eviction notice based on non-payment of rent looks like:

3 Day Eviction Notice Free

3 Day Eviction Notice Free

3 Day Eviction Notice Free

3 Day Eviction Notice Free

3 Day Eviction Notice Free

3 Day Eviction Notice Free

Landlords and property managers can download a fillable 3 day eviction notice template along with instructions on how to properly fill it out here. We offer this 3 day eviction notice template for free for a limited time.

For more information on the 3 day eviction notice for non-payment of rent, read California Civil Code of Procedure 1161(2).

If you prefer an attorney to create the notice and a process server to serve it (this is recommended), contact us.

Note: This form may not be applicable in rent-controlled jurisdictions.

Landlords will often wait too long before serving the eviction notice. This is a common mistake. Keep in mind that the eviction notice for non-payment of rent is only step 1 of the eviction case. Once the 3 days’ expire, the landlord must then follow-up with an unlawful detainer court case. The “UD” case can take a minimum of 4 weeks, but oftentimes takes 5-7 weeks, even on a non-disputed eviction case where the tenant doesn’t fight the case. Serve the 3 day eviction notice immediately when the rent is past-due to minimize delays.

In addition to the 3 day notice discussed above, this law office offers many more forms as well.

The Law Office of David Piotrowski can assist landlords with unlawful detainer eviction cases. We work hard to make your case proceed as quickly as possible.

Be sure to check out our reviews! We look forward to serving you. We offer a free consultation on most cases.

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Civil Code 1942.4 – A Follow Up Regarding Landlord Liability

 

Civil Code 1942.4 is an important code section that discusses the liability of a landlord who demands rent (such as by serving the tenant with a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit) under certain circumstances. This is a follow-up to my earlier blog post on Civil Code 1942.4.

A landlord found to be in violation of Civil Code 1942.4 requires landlords to repair the conditions and pay the tenant actual damages, statutory damages, and attorney fees.

Civil Code 1942.4 states, in part, that a landlord “may not demand rent, collect rent, issue a notice of a rent increase, or issue a three-day notice to pay rent or quit” if certain conditions exist prior to the landlord’s demand or notice.

Landlords should take Civil Code 1942.4 seriously and make sure to always maintain their property in a safe and sanitary condition. Landlords should conduct periodic inspections of their property to make sure the property is being maintained by the tenant and does not require any repairs. Taking these proactive steps can help a landlord when a tenant claims a breach of Civil Code 1942.4.

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