CCP 1166 – Unlawful Detainer Complaint in California

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California Code of Civil Procedure 1166, also known as CCP 1166, discusses the unlawful detainer (eviction) complaint in California. Our notes and comments are in red and are not part of CCP 1166.

CCP 1166 reads as follows:

1166. (a) The complaint shall:

(1) Be verified and include the typed or printed name of the person verifying the complaint.

A non-verified complaint is defective.

(2) Set forth the facts on which the plaintiff seeks to recover.

Why is the plaintiff/landlord suing the defendant/tenant? Is it because of non-payment of rent, because the tenant violated a term of the rental agreement, or some other reason?

(3) Describe the premises with reasonable certainty.

What is the full and complete property address and property details?

(4) If the action is based on paragraph (2) of Section 1161, state the amount of rent in default.

If the eviction is based on non-payment of rent, the CCP 1166 complaint ought to state the amount of unpaid rent and go into further details.

(5) State specifically the method used to serve the defendant with the notice or notices of termination upon which the complaint is based. This requirement may be satisfied by using and completing all items relating to service of the notice or notices in an appropriate Judicial Council form complaint, or by attaching a proof of service of the notice or notices of termination served on the defendant.

A description of how the defendant/tenant was served with the notice to quit should be detailed on the CCP 1166 complaint.

(b) The complaint may set forth any circumstances of fraud, force, or violence that may have accompanied the alleged forcible entry or forcible or unlawful detainer, and claim damages therefor.

(c) In an action regarding residential real property based on Section 1161a, the plaintiff shall state in the caption of the complaint Action based on Code of Civil Procedure Section 1161a.

This is for foreclosure cases.

(d) (1) In an action regarding residential property, the plaintiff shall attach to the complaint the following:

(A) A copy of the notice or notices of termination served on the defendant upon which the complaint is based.

(B) A copy of any written lease or rental agreement regarding the premises. Any addenda or attachments to the lease or written agreement that form the basis of the complaint shall also be attached. The documents required by this subparagraph are not required to be attached if the complaint alleges any of the following:

(i) The lease or rental agreement is oral.

(ii) A written lease or rental agreement regarding the premises is not in the possession of the landlord or any agent or employee of the landlord.

(iii) An action based solely on subdivision (2) of Section 1161.

(2) If the plaintiff fails to attach the documents required by this subdivision, the court shall grant leave to amend the complaint for a five-day period in order to include the required attachments.

The plaintiff/landlord should attach to the CCP 1166 unlawful detainer complaint copies of the rental agreement (if the rental agreement was in writing), a copy of the termination notice, and a copy of the proof of service of the termination notice.

(e) Upon filing the complaint, a summons shall be issued thereon.

The plaintiff/landlord would then want a process server or sheriff to serve the court papers on the defendant/tenant.

For additional information on CCP 1166 and the unlawful detainer complaint, please review our article on UD-100.

The Law Office of David Piotrowski has a long history of success in winning eviction trials on behalf of the landlord. If you need help with an eviction in Southern California, contact us today. We represent landlords only with eviction cases.

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This article is courtesy of the Law Office of David Piotrowski, a California law firm representing landlords with eviction matters.

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