Why You Need Los Angeles Eviction Attorney

Los Angeles Eviction Attorney

As a Tenant

When facing eviction, the issue can threaten your enjoyment of the rental unit or worse, your ability to reside in the property at all. You’re not only facing the hassle of finding another place to live, but also the costs of disconnecting and connecting utilities, moving, a security deposit, and many more. In some cases, a landlord may try to move you out of the rental unit by taking matters into his/her own hands. If you think your landlord is wrongfully evicting you or you don’t think you’ve violated your lease agreement, consulting with an experienced legal counsel is the best way to prepare for the proceedings.

At Los Angeles Eviction Attorney, your civil rights matter to us. If you’re facing eviction, we’ll help you take a firm stand and defend your rights. With our skills and dedication, you can count on our legal team to fully research the situation and develop an effective strategy. We’re always ready to litigate eviction cases in the courtroom.

Our attorneys represent both landlords and tenants in unlawful detainer actions. We’re dedicated to providing exceptional consulting services and solving your landlord-tenant legal conflicts.

As a Landlord

Leasing property is a business and, in such case, the bottom line is as crucial as continued business flow. At Los Angeles Eviction Attorney, we understand how a tenant’s failure to pay rent or engagement in illegal activities can disrupt your business. While California law allows landlords to evict a tenant through unlawful detainer proceedings, these proceedings are complex and involve strict notice requirements and filing deadlines. Eviction can also cause a great deal of stress and you must follow the process systematically and correctly. All it takes is one typo to have the eviction nullified.

At Los Angeles Eviction Attorney, we offer sophisticated legal counsel to landlords and property managers in Los Angeles. We help prepare and submit proper the required notices as well as an eviction lawsuit. This provides you with the convenience and ease of dealing with the problem in an efficient and compliant manner.

            

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24/7/365 by Calling  310-695-5536

The first step is making the call. From there we will meet for your always free legal consultation where we can discuss the details of your case and how we can best help. Once we start working together attorney Justin Lo and others on our team can immediately proceed compiling the elements of your case! We are located in Los Angeles, CA and serve people in need throughout Los Angeles County and Southern California.

Valid Reasons for Eviction in Los Angeles

While California is a tenant-friendly state, there are various reasons that may cause a landlord to successfully terminate a tenant’s right to remain on the rental property. A formal court order may be given to law enforcement officials to forcibly remove a tenant from the property. Common reasons to evict include:

  • The tenant failed to pay rent on time
  • The tenant is using or allowing the rental premises to be used for illegal or criminal activity
  • The tenant has violated a lawful tenancy obligation and has failed to correct the violation even with a notice from the landlord
  • The tenant is harboring pets or unauthorized persons at the premises against the lease agreement
  • The tenant is causing damage to the property or a nuisance into the property of the common areas of the complex containing the property or is interfering with the safety, enjoyment, or comfort of any other residents
  • The tenant who has a written rental agreement that terminated has refused to execute a written extension or renewal of a lease with similar provisions
  • The individual in possession of the rental unit is a subtenant not approved by the landlord
  • The landlord seeks in good faith top repossess the property to undertake primary renovation work of the property, demolish it, or remove it permanently from rental housing use
  • The landlord seeks in good faith to repossess the rental unit to be occupied by the landlord or the landlord’s children, spouse, or parents

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All California tenants have legal rights to a safe and healthy environment to live in peace and good health. I am a lawyer in Los Angeles who focuses on helping renters and other tenants against illegal landlord behavior. Despite California’s booming real estate market, many landlords still do not provide safe housing for their tenants. Many landlords cut corners to save money and increase their profits at the expense of their tenants. Unsafe apartments, mold, mice and rats are unfortunately common in California homes. Many landlords ignore needed repairs or drag their feet until they are sued in court.

As an attorney, I focus on providing tenants safe and fair priced housing. I focus on injuries from unsafe homes, bed bugs and mold. I fight for tenants who have been injured by their landlord’s negligence and illegal behavior. I send legal demands or file lawsuits for tenants who have been injured by their landlords and have medical bills to pay. In my experience, common housing violations that happen are:

  1. Illegal or wrongful eviction tactics. Common illegal behavior is turning off water or electricity or charging illegal late fees
  2. Discrimination because of your sex, gender or race
  3. Health issues from lead paint, severe mold or asbestos
  4. Injuries from dangerous conditions such as defective stairs, handrails, broken windows or doors
  5. Pressure tactics to force you to move from your rent controlled property. Common pressure tactics are unreasonable property “inspections”, unnecessarily long repairs that force you to live somewhere else for a long time and illegal fees
  6. Not cleaning up insect infestations and mice or rats
  7. Physical injuries from defective gas and electrical fixtures
  8. Physical injuries from sewage and plumbing problems
  9. Ignoring multiple inspection notices from Los Angeles housing authorities or the California Department of Fair Housing

Don’t be a victim of your landlord anymore. Call me call today for a free and no risk consultation to learn about your legal rights and how I can help you.

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California Eviction Notices

Before a landlord in California can evict a tenant, they are required to first terminate the tenancy by following procedures stipulated by state law. The landlord must give the tenant a written notice to correct the violation or vacate. If the tenant fails to move out or fix bad behavior, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit. Conversely, the landlord is not obligated to give the tenant an opportunity to correct the behavior if the case involves serious lease violations.

California law provides the requirements to terminate the tenancy, including the procedures required for different situations as well as the different types of termination notices. Additional rules may be imposed by communities with rent control ordinances. The notice provided to a tenant before eviction will basically be determined by the reason for termination.

Notice for Termination with Cause

  1. Three-Day Cure or Quit Notice: This notice is given when the tenant engages in activities that violate the rental agreement. This notice gives the tenant 3 days to correct the violation. If the tenant fails to cure within 3 days, then the landlord can file an eviction lawsuit with the court as provided under Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 1161(3).
  2. Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit: Pursuant to Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 1161(2), a landlord can give a tenant a three-day notice to pay rent or vacate if the tenant fails to pay rent when it’s due. The three-day notice typically informs the tenant that he/she has 3 days to pay rent, failure to which the landlord can file an unlawful detainer lawsuit at the end of the allotted 3 days.
  3. Three-Day Unconditional Quit Notice: California Code of Civil Procedure section 1161(4) allows a landlord to issue a tenant with a three-day notice to vacate if the tenant commits specific, serious violations. The tenant is informed to move out of the premises with 3 days of receiving the notice. In this case, the tenant is not given an opportunity to correct the violation. The landlord can file an eviction lawsuit if the tenant does not move out of the rental unit within 3 days. The three-day unconditional quit notice can be used if the tenant has:
    • caused significant damage to the property,
    • violated the lease or rental agreement by assigning or subletting the rental unit,
    • been late with the rent on several occasions,
    • used or allowed the use of the rental unit for illegal activity, or
    • created or permitted a nuisance at the rental unit.

    Notice for Termination without Cause

    1. Month-to-Month Tenancy

    If a tenant has lived in the rental property under a month-to-month agreement and the landlord wants to end the tenancy, then the landlord must inform the tenant with a written 30-day notice. Conversely, if the tenant has rented the unit for over one year under the month-to-month tenancy, a 60-day written notice must be provided to have the tenant vacate. These notices must provide information on when the tenancy will expire and that the tenant must move out by that time.

    1. Fixed-Term Tenancy

    The landlord cannot end a fixed-term tenancy without legal reason until the end of the term. In this case, the tenant does not have to give the tenant notice to vacate when the tenancy expires, unless required by the tenancy. If, for instance, a tenant has a year-long lease that expires at the end of January and has not yet requested renewal of the lease, then the landlord is not required to give the tenant notice to vacate by the end of January.

    The notice must be served to the tenant using any of the three types of acceptable service in Los Angeles. The first service is known as personal service and involves the landlord or a hired process server physically giving the notice to the tenant. The notice can as well be left somewhere close to the tenant if he/she refuses service. The other method is the substituted service, in which someone 18 years or older in the tenant’s house accepts the notice because the tenant is not at home. The third service option is posting and mailing, which involves mailing a copy to the tenant and putting another on the front door. However, this option is only acceptable if the other types of service have failed and a court order must be obtained in order to use this method.

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Defenses to Eviction in California

Tenants in Los Angeles have numerous protections when it comes to eviction, such as the possibility of paying partial rent, notice requirement, and more. A tenant facing eviction for violating the lease agreement or failing to pay rent may have a defense to fight the eviction. Here are possible eviction defenses in California:

Notice Was Served Improperly

Once the rent is late or the landlord finds out about a lease violation, the landlord must carefully follow all the rules and procedures as stipulated in the California Code. For instance, the landlord must give a non-rent-paying tenant a three-day notice to pay or quit. The notice must specify how much rent is due and when it should be paid. The notice must also be handed personally to the tenant. If the landlord did not provide sufficient notice before filing a lawsuit or did not properly serve or deliver the notice, the tenant can defend against the eviction by claiming lack of proper notice or insufficient notice (even if the tenant has not yet paid the rent in question). If the argument is successful, the judge would likely dismiss the eviction case, thereby forcing the landlord to redo the procedure from the beginning by issuing a three-day notice to the tenant. If the tenant still has not paid the rent after three days have passed, then the landlord could file a new unlawful detainer lawsuit and the eviction process would proceed as normal. It’s worth noting that this defense does not stop an eviction, it only postpones it. Once the improper notice procedure is fixed, the notice will continue as normal.

Landlord Did Not Maintain the Rental Property

Cal. Civ. Code § 1941 specifies a set of minimum standards that a landlord in California is required to follow when maintaining a rental unit. For instance, a landlord must ensure there are effective waterproofing and weather protection, the property has hot water running, the stairways and floors are well-maintained, etc. If the landlord fails to maintain the unit according to these or other standards, California law allows a tenant to withhold rent until the landlord carries out the repairs. Rent withholding only applies in the case of a serious repair or habitability problem. If the tenant properly exercises his/her right to withhold rent in such circumstances but the landlord chooses to evict the tenant for nonpayment of rent, the tenant may have an affirmative defense to the eviction.

A tenant using this defense should provide the landlord with a written notice informing the landlord that there are repairs are needed in the property. The notice must also give the landlord a reasonable period of time to make the repairs. If the landlord does not respond, the tenant may hire and pay a repair person to fix the defect and then subtract the cost from the rent paid to the landlord. When applying the repair-and-deduct tactic, the tenant can’t spend more than one month’s rent, should not have caused the problem, and can’t use this remedy more than twice in any one-year period.

Tenant Fixed a Lease Violation

If a tenant violates the lease agreement, the landlord is required to provide a three-day notice prior to filing an unlawful detainer lawsuit. The notice requires the tenant to correct the behavior within 3 days to stop the eviction process. But if the tenant corrects the violation within the appropriate time but the landlord chooses to proceed anyway, the tenant can use this as a defense to the eviction.

Landlord Discriminates Against the Tenant

The federal Fair Housing Act and California Fair Employment and Housing Act make it unlawful for a landlord to discriminate against a tenant based on gender expression, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, familial status, age, religion, disability, and health condition. A tenant can use discrimination as a defense if the landlord attempts to illegally evict the tenant based on these characteristics.

Landlord Retaliated Against the Tenant

A landlord in California cannot evict a tenant just because the tenant exercised a legal right such as complaining about a serious issue or using the repair and deduct method to correct the problem. Retaliation is a valid defense to an Unlawful Detainer Complaint and if a court finds, based on the answers and evidence provided by the tenant, that the eviction is retaliatory, the landlord may find him/herself facing a lawsuit for violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Illegal Eviction Procedures in California

The Superior Court of California administers all eviction processes in the state and assures tenants and landlords of the right to a court hearing. Under State Eviction laws, landlords in California must use these statutory rules and procedures when evicting tenants. This means that no landlord can take the law into their own hands or use “self-help” measures to force the tenant to move out. For instance, the landlord cannot forcefully remove the front door or outside windows, change or remove locks, take the tenant’s belongings, or cut off utilities such as electricity or water in order to carry out a self-help eviction.

A can use the illegal eviction as a countersuit to an unlawful detainer suit or sue the landlord in a small claims court or civil court. If the landlord tries to use unlawful methods to evict a tenant and then decides to file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant, the tenant could still use the illegal eviction as a defense. In this case, the landlord may be liable for the tenant’s damages. And if the tenant sues the landlord in civil court, the tenant can request an injunction prohibiting the landlord from another attempt at illegal eviction. But if the tenant sues the landlord in a small claims court, an injunction may not be a remedy.

Whether the tenant sues in small claims court or civil court, damages that a tenant may recover include:

  • Actual damages such as motel bills if the illegal eviction forced the tenant to find a temporary place to live
  • Punitive damages of up to $250 for each separate violation or up to $100 per day of violation
  • Attorney’s fees or court costs

Eviction after Foreclosure in California

Eviction after foreclosure can be a complex matter with many areas of missteps. And although a new property owner can evict the former owner or the tenant residing in the property, strict notice requirements and legal procedures provided under Cal. Civ. Code § 1161a must be followed. The federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA) and California Homeowners Bill of Rights (HBOR) enable renters to remain in their homes for at least 90 days after the foreclosure. The first step in the post-foreclosure eviction process is determining whether the current occupants are the former owners or tenants of the former owner.

If the former owner remains in possession of the property after the foreclosure, the “successor in interest” must serve them with a 3-day notice to quit. This also applies to the mortgagor, spouse, parent, or child of the mortgagor. Conversely, if the occupant is a bona fide tenant, the new owner must provide a 90 days’ notice to quit prior to eviction or allow the tenant to occupy the property until the end of the lease term. This can stretch for months or years depending on the provisions of the rental agreement. An exception exists for a purchaser or successor in interest who will occupy the unit as a primary residence and will, therefore, be allowed to terminate the tenancy with a 90-day notice to vacate.

A tenancy or lease is considered to be bona fide if the tenant entered into a lease agreement before the foreclosure sale, the tenancy is not the mortgagor, spouse, child, or parent of the mortgagor, the rent required under the lease is substantially higher than fair market rent for the property, and the tenancy or lease was negotiated at arms-length. Even if the tenant is not a bona fide tenant, a 90-day Notice to Vacate must be served as provided under California Code of Civil Procedure § 1161b, unless the tenant is the former owner or any party to the note. Special additional language informing the tenants of their rights must also be included on the notice’s face. The law, in this case, does not cover tenants with a fraudulent lease, tenants facing eviction in a non-foreclosed property, homeowners in foreclosure, or tenants who enter in lease agreements after a foreclosure. In addition, the PTFA does not affect any local or State law that extends additional protections or provides for longer time periods to tenants.

Occupants should be notified of a change of ownership within 15 days and should be provided with the contact information of the new owner. A tenant in a foreclosed property must continue to pay rent as usual during the remainder of the tenancy. If the tenant does not pay rent on the next due date upon which rent is due, a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit may be served to the tenant. When it comes to foreclosure cases, nonpayment of rent may be a defense if the property has habitability issues. A tenant who has not received a proper 90-day notice to vacate can file a Demurrer and/or Motion to Quash in order to delay the case. If granted, the motions can cause significant delays in evicting the tenant. If the tenant fails to comply with the notice, the successor in interest can file an unlawful detainer lawsuit.

Litigating post-foreclosure eviction is becoming more technical and challenging, especially since this area involves both state and federal law. This is why it’s crucial to work with a skilled, experienced Los Angeles Eviction Attorney who understands your case and can help you accordingly. We can help you deal with the lengthy process and demanding paperwork by taking care of all the details of your case.

 

The Eviction Process in California: Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit

A California unlawful detainer lawsuit or eviction lawsuit is a summary court procedure that allows a landlord to evict a tenant for failure to comply with an agreement in the lease or failure to pay rent when due. The lawsuit is filed when a tenant remains in the property and refuses to comply with the notice and cure the legal issue within the allotted time. The landlord in an unlawful detainer lawsuit is the “plaintiff” and the tenant is the “defendant.” In this suit, the court action moves forward very quickly and the tenant usually has a very short time to respond to during the lawsuit.

At Los Angeles Eviction Attorney, we represent both residential and commercial landlords and tenants in eviction cases. We offer our clients counseling and advocacy in every stage of the unlawful detainer process. This area of law requires extreme attention to detail in order to ensure that all procedural requirements are met. Our services include drafting the necessary Notices, preparing unlawful detainer complaints and responses, serving the defendant, requesting judgments, defending against the lawsuit, obtaining writs of possession, and having the Sheriff’s Department serve a notice to vacate. With years of experience representing both tenants and landlords, Los Angeles Eviction Attorney will work to provide the most effective representation and obtain the most favorable outcome.

The landlord must prepare and file a Summons and Complaint, which will then be served to the tenant. Once the tenant has been served with the lawsuit, he or she has five days to respond. If the tenant does not respond to the eviction lawsuit, the court can give judgment for possession, after which the case is sent to the Sherriff’s office for lockout proceedings. If the tenant files an answer and decides to fight the accusations, the case becomes a contested eviction. A tenant may choose to fight an unlawful detainer lawsuit if he/she believes there are serious habitability problems with the property, there are no violations of the lease agreement or there are conspicuous deficiencies in the paperwork submitted by the landlord. Therefore, if a tenant responds, the landlord must request a trial in order to proceed with the case.

A trial will then be held and the judge will hear and decide the case typically within 20 days following the tenant’s response. The trial provides an opportunity for the parties to explain their case and present their evidence. The more evidence provided by one party, the more likely the judge will rule in favor of that party. Witness testimonies may also come in handy in proving an individual’s side of the story.

If there’s evidence to suggest additional unknown people living in the premises, a landlord may choose to serve a pre-judgment claim of right to possession. This covers all the unknown occupants and puts them on notice that they ought to file a response to the court. A pre-judgment claim tends to take away the ability to delay the eviction once the case is concluded, by filing a third-party claim. However, serving a pre-judgment claim of possession delays the case by 10 days. Before serving a pre-judgment claim of possession, it is best to analyze the case and evaluate all criteria.

If the tenant has a good defense, the eviction will not proceed. This means that the tenant will not have to move out of the rental unit if the court decides in his/her favor, and the landlord may be required to pay court costs. The landlord may also be ordered to pay attorney’s fees if the tenant was represented by an attorney and if the rental agreement contains a clause that covers attorney’s fees. Los Angeles Eviction Attorney can represent either the landlord or tenant in court when the trial date arrives.

Writ of Possession in a California Eviction Case

If the landlord prevails in court at the conclusion of the trial, a writ of possession will be issued by the court. This is an order requiring the Sheriff to go to the property and post a 5-day notice to have the tenant voluntarily move out of the rental unit. If the tenant fails to vacate within the allotted time, the writ of possession authorizes the Sheriff to return to the property and physically lock out the tenant and restore possession of the rental unit to the landlord. It’s only at this instance that the landlord has the permission to remove and change locks or prevent the tenant from accessing the property.

The Sherriff will not move or accept liability for any personal belongings that the tenant may leave on the premises. The tenant has 15 days from the day he/she is locked out to come back and collect the items. If he or she doesn’t retrieve his/her stuff within that time, the landlord can auction it off.  However, California eviction law prohibits the landlord from disposing or selling the property if it is valued at or above $700. Instead, the tenant should be provided with a Notice of Right to Reclaim Abandoned Property. The notice should then be given to the tenant informing them that they should pick the property within 18 days of mailing, failure to which the items will be sold. Conversely, if the property is valued below $700 and not reclaimed in 18 days from when the notice is deposited in the mail, it may be sold, kept, or destroyed without further notice.

If the eviction is based on the payment’s failure to pay rent, the landlord may be awarded any unpaid rent. The landlord may also be awarded court costs, damages, and attorney’s fees if the landlord was represented by an attorney and the lease contains a clause for attorney’s fees. In addition, the court may also award the landlord up to $600 if the tenant acted maliciously in not moving out as ordered by the court.

An unlawful detainer trial is a form of hybrid criminal-civil proceeding. In this case, judgment against the tenant will mean that the tenant is found not just liable but also “guilty.” The conviction will be reported on the tenant’s credit report for up to 10 years and future landlords may also see the record in their background checks.