Renters: Don’t Allow Landlords to Bully You out of Your Home!

By: Matt Thompson, Esq.

Renters in California know your rights! Even if you have violated terms of your lease or rental agreement, the landlord may not evict you without going through the necessary legal steps. This starts with notice given by the landlord then the filing of an Unlawful Detainer and ends with the Court issuing a writ of possession. Landlord self help and lockouts are illegal and a landlord who uses such tactics may be subject to fines under California law.

If you have violated the terms of your lease or rental agreement, the landlord must still give you a written notice, notifying you of what terms you are violating and giving you at least 3 days to fix whatever the problem is. If you are not in breach of any of the terms, then the landlord must give you a 30 day written notice if you have lived in the property for less than a year or a 60 written day notice if you have lived in the property for more than a year.

After written notice has been given and the landlord has waited the required time, they may file an Unlawful Detainer action. Once the Unlawful Detainer action has been filed, a hearing will be scheduled and they must give you, the tenant, notice of this in writing. You will then have an opportunity to file an answer.  If you do not file an answer or do not appear, the court will give the landlord a default judgment.

If a default judgment is entered or the court sides with the landlord, then you will be served with a writ of possession, by the sheriff, allowing you 5 days to move out voluntarily or be moved out by the sheriff

A landlord may not remove a tenant or the tenants’ property, change the locks, cut off utilities or anything else that would interfere with the tenants’ ability to access his property until they have gone through the steps required by the law.  If a landlord does use any of these unlawful methods the landlord may be subject to liability for the tenant’s damages, as well as penalties of up to $100 per day for the time that the landlord used the unlawful methods.  Know your rights and don’t let landlords take advantage of you or your situation!

Matt Thompson, Esq.

P: 951-359-1209 x201



Mr. Thompson has extensive experience in foreclosures with an emphasis on post foreclosure title clearance and evictions as well as representing many large creditors in handling creditor side bankruptcy issues.  Mr.  Thompson is the sole responsible party for changing the batteries of all the smoke alarms in his home.

**The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This blog posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.**


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