Unlawful Detainer Judgment in California – What Can a Plaintiff / Landlord Recover?


I’m often asked what can a landlord expect to get from the tenant after obtaining a judgment against the tenant in an unlawful detainer eviction case. The items recoverable in an unlawful detainer case in California are limited. Generally, an unlawful detainer court judgment in California may include the following:

  1. Possession of the property. An unlawful detainer judgment will determine who is entitled to possession of the property. (At my firm, I always advise clients that possession is the number one priority and goal.)
  2. Back Rent. A landlord may get a judgment for unpaid-rent. However, it can be quite difficult to collect on the rent.
  3. The reasonable rental value, calculated daily from the date of expiration of the termination notice up through the date of judgment.
  4. Statutory damages of up to $600 for “malicious holding over” are a possibility.
  5. Costs of the unlawful detainer.  For example, these costs may include court costs, attorney fees, service fees, and sheriff fees.

The Law Office of David Piotrowski represents landlords throughout southern California and can assist with a tenant eviction.

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