The Process and Consequences of Eviction in California

Purchase a home or rent? This is a question that thousands of prospective Rancho Cucamonga home buyers ask themselves every year. If you rent, you know that the challenging economy, inflation, and uncertain employment concerns often make paying rent difficult.

Benefits of Renting

The California housing market continues to change, and interest rate fluctuations and household income fuel the volatility. If you’re among the Inland Empire residents trying to decide whether to buy a home, renting has several benefits.

Fixed Costs

Financially, costs associated with renting are more predictable than homeownership. You don’t have to pay the bill for unexpected repairs or maintenance as a renter. If you’re a gig worker or have inconsistent paychecks, renting can help you predict your monthly housing expense more accurately. When something breaks down, such as the refrigerator or furnace, your landlord takes care of it. Regular property maintenance is also the landlord’s responsibility. With fewer variable financial obligations, you can budget more effectively.

Relocation Flexibility

You have to relocate for a new job. You don’t like your neighbors. The commute is too long. As a homeowner, these issues often cause significant upheaval. However, renters have flexibility. Breaking a lease is quick and inexpensive compared to selling a home. Check your contract for the requirements. Even if you choose to wait until the end of the lease agreement, it is still easier to move elsewhere whenever you need to.

When Renting May Make Sense

If you’re new to the area or travel frequently, renting might make more sense. You don’t have to worry about upkeep or changing locations if you decide the neighborhood isn’t right for you. In Southern California, home values may be out of reach, but as a renter, you can try out some of the most in-demand areas to see if it’s the right fit. Though it has benefits, renting also has its downside. Compared to a homeowner, you can face eviction quickly and without many safeguards as a renter.

Eviction Process

Landlords use the eviction process as the legal way to make you move out. Although by law, they must give you notice, the timeline varies. Depending on the circumstances, you may get a 3, 30,60 or 90-day eviction notice. It’s critical that you understand that you must take action, or the landlord may file a lawsuit.

Unlawful Detainer

If you don’t respond to the eviction notice, the landlord can file an unlawful detainer. It tells you that the landlord is suing to have you evicted and names you as the Defendant. This is a legal way to remove you from the property and regain possession. The California Tenant Protection Act of 2019 is a rent control and tenant protection law. It requires landlords to have cause, per the legislation, to evict a tenant who has been in a rental for at least 12 months. Valid reasons for eviction include if the tenant:

  • Damages the property and lowers the value
  • Fails to pay rent on time
  • Breaks the lease agreement without intent to correct the issue (e.g., keeps a pet when pets aren’t allowed)
  • Uses the property for illegal action
  • Becomes a nuisance (upsets other tenants or neighbors and continues after being asked to stop)

In most cities throughout Southern California, a landlord may evict a tenant who refuses to leave after the lease is up or when the rental agreement is canceled per the terms of the lease agreement.

Tenant Rights

The sheriff is the only agency who can legally remove you from the premises after an unlawful detainer lawsuit. If the landlord takes illegal action, you can file a complaint with the police and take them to small claims court. Illegal actions include the following:

  • Changing the locks
  • Removing doors or windows
  • Locking you out
  • Cutting off utility services

If you file a complaint with the health department or other enforcement agency, it is illegal for the landlord to retaliate. This includes raising your rent, decreasing services, and evicting you.

Consequences of Unlawful Detainer in Rancho Cucamonga

The temporary eviction moratorium in Rancho Cucamonga in response to COVID concerns has ended. It applied only to the non-payment of rent due. If your landlord serves you notice, you must act quickly. Failure to do so could result in a lawsuit. When you receive the paperwork, you have a few options:

  • Do as the notice asks within the specified timeframe
  • Reach an agreement with the landlord
  • Do not comply with the notice

If you follow the notice requirements, such as paying back rent or moving out, the landlord cannot file an unlawful detainer case. If you and the landlord can reach an agreement, there is no need for them to file a lawsuit. However, if you do not comply, you might receive a Summons and Complaint. At this point, you’ll have to file a response in the proper legal form and defend yourself in court.

If you received the notice in person, you have five days to file a response. If you received it via mail, you have until the tenth day after the mailing date.

Help From a Rancho Cucamonga Lawyer

Evictions affect when and where you are able to lease in the future. You must act quickly when you receive a notice or a Summons and Complaint to understand your options and corresponding consequences. Talking to attorney Terrence Fantauzzi can help you understand your options. Call 909-552-1238 today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

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