Landlords have questions. We have answers.
MT Evictions is Southern California's trusted source for the information investment property owners need to effectuate a legal eviction and power through many other real estate challenges.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How does the Eviction process start?
With proper legal NOTICE. This is the first and most important step. Formal eviction notices range from 3, 30, 60 or 90 days depending on the type of tenancy. These notices require strict compliance to mandatory legal disclosures if your notice fails to include one of these legal requirements, your notice will be fatally defective for your case.
What happens after the Notice?
Summons & Complaint aka Lawsuit. If your tenant fails to comply with the formal eviction notice, it’s time to initiate an Unlawful Detainer lawsuit, more commonly referred to as an “eviction”. This is a process where we prepare a formal lawsuit on your behalf. We then file the Unlawful Detainer in court and use registered process servers to legally serve the tenant. This is a very important step to protect your case. Like in any civil case, the person being sued has the right to contest/answer. In these type of cases, normally, the tenant has 5 days to contest after being served.
What happens if the tenant does not respond?
Default Judgment. If your tenant fails to respond to the lawsuit, the next step is to submit a request for a Default Judgment. The Default Judgment seals the case in your favor due to defendant’s failure to respond to the lawsuit. Once it is approved by the court, we can hire the sheriff’s department to do the formal lock out, if necessary.
What happens if the tenant responds?
TRIAL. If your tenant responds to your lawsuit with a formal Answer, the next step is to Request a Trial. The trial usually takes place 2-3 weeks after the defendant’s response. At this point, you may choose to appoint an attorney of your choice or we can suggest a trusted attorney. As soon as your trial date is received, we set an appointment in order to prepare you for trial.
Scenarios in Trial: Here are a few possibilities:
TENANT IS A NO SHOW:
We move forward with Trial. Your case is presented before the judge with an absentee tenant. Attorney will ask questions, our office will provide you with sample questions. Attorney will request possession of your property, and you may also be granted a money judgment.
TENANT SHOWS UP:
Most judges will request for the Landlord, with their attorney, and the tenant, with or without attorney, to go outside the court room and try and enter into an agreement, also known as a STIPULATION. Time and money is negotiated. This negotiation/agreement is put in writing and the judge makes the terms official.
The purpose of a Stipulation is to negotiate an equally-beneficial situation for both parties. It is ideal most of the time. A Stipulation is done as a business decision to save you time and money as the owner; since you are eliminating the costly possibility of future court dates and possibly Sheriff. The attorney representing you will guide you and advise you towards the best solution during this process.
AGREEMENT/SETTLEMENT CANNOT BE REACHED?
We must appear before a judge to present your case. The Judge will then issue you a verdict on your case. We might be sent out to a different courtroom and/or a different courthouse, which will incur additional court/attorney expenses. Please note, if case is transferred to the afternoon or a different date, an additional Attorney Fee is applied for each additional court session.
What if the tenant requests a Jury Trial?
It is currently a common trend (delay tactic) for defense attorneys or tenants to request a Jury Trial. This is used as a delay tactic and as a negotiation angle. A Jury Trial can get extremely expensive, since preparation for these type of cases is extensive, involves selecting a panel of 12 juror’s, preparing jury instructions, etc. This can cost you anywhere from $4,500 to $6,500 depending on the time and effort the attorney has to apply to your case. We try to avoid Jury Trials vigorously by encouraging a Stipulation upon the tenant. With a Stipulation, both parties compromise, settle and reach a final conclusion in order to avoid further legal expenses.
How do I prepare for trial?
It is imperative that you gather the following information and present it on trial day:
• The original lease/rental agreement.
• Letters/notices in regards to this tenant that are beneficial to your case.
• Photos that will benefit your case (clean unit, repairs, etc.)
• Evidence/receipts of improvements, repairs, fumigations done to the unit.
• Title, if there is an ownership issue.
• The person who served your tenant MUST be present in court for your case.
What happens after you win your case?
SHERIFF’S LOCK OUT. Once a judge rules verdict in your favor, the case is completed and you regain possession of your property with a possibility of money judgments. This authorizes you to proceed with hiring/requesting the Sheriff’s to lock the tenant out of the property. This process can take up to 30 additional days.
Do I need the Sheriff's for a lock out?
Not necessarily. The need for a formal lock-out is eliminated if the tenant willingly hands over possession of the property by: - Giving you the key - Verbally notifying you of their vacancy - Surrendering possession of the premises in writing OR - Leaving the unit with open access. What does a Sheriff do? The sheriff will first serve the tenant with a 5 Day Notice to Vacate the property. Once the five days have expired, the Sheriff will issue a Lock out Date. This notice contains your specific date and time of lock out. This process can take up to an additional 30 days.
Can tenants cause delays?
YES. From time to time, tenants have been known to file legal documents with the sole purpose of delaying the eviction process. The following procedures are just a few examples of methods that delay the Eviction process.
What is a Demurrer and/or motion?
This is the tenant’s formal objection to your Eviction lawsuit. A Demurrer attacks the credibility of your lawsuit by claiming that it is based on illegitimate grounds and that it requires remedy. Most of these objections are played out and downright frivolous. It is not difficult to challenge a Demurrer/Motions, since the process is a delay tactic. A Demurrer/Motion is resolved by making a court appearance to objecting the motion in court. Once objected, the tenant is instructed by the Judge not to file additional Demurrer’s/Motions. It is imperative to show up to the Demurrer/Motion, since a Judge may grant the tenant’s Demurrer/Motion if there is no appearance in court to object.
What is an Ex Parte?
This is an emergency hearing. It is a request for the court to hear a tenant’s case with only 24 hour notice. This legal procedure usually occurs if a tenant is trying to avoid the sheriff’s lock out. It does not happen frequently at all, and it is a sheer desperation tactic.
What is a bankruptcy/federal remand?
If the tenant files for bankruptcy BEFORE you have won possession, it WILL affect your Eviction process, since the tenant is granted an “Automatic Stay.” Thereafter, a lift to remove that stay needs to be obtained by the Federal Court. This process usually takes 45 days.
It is important to know that none of these scenarios can stop your eviction, however, they are done with the objective of creating a delay. The average Eviction can takes 8 weeks to conclude, by filing a bankruptcy, it delays it an average of 45 days.
What is A Jury Trial?
A Jury Trial or a Trial by Jury is a legal proceeding in which a jury of 12 people has to be selected in order to determine the outcome of your case.
Does a Tenant have a right to request a Jury Trial?
Yes. It is every defendants/tenants right to request a Jury Trial instead of a traditional bench trial.
Why does a tenant request a Jury Trial?
This request is made to eliminate a bench trial, in which a judge makes all decisions. Defendants/Tenants have found that a jury can be more sympathetic than a judge, since they can easily be influenced. It is also a way to quickly raise costs for a plaintiff/landlord, therefore, forcing a settlement beneficial to the defendant/tenant.
Can I avoid a Jury Trial?
No, once the request for a Jury Trial has been made, there is no way of avoiding it other than by settling the case with defendant/tenant.
How long does a Jury Trial Take?
A typical Jury Trial can take anywhere between three (3) to five (5) business days to complete, in exceptional cases. However, obtaining a Jury Trial date can take up to 4 weeks from the original trial date.
How much does a Jury Trial cost?
Please note that a JURY TRIAL does require a separate contract, directly with attorney.
A typical Jury Trial can cost from $7,500.00 to $8,500.00. Fees get collected once we realize that a settlement cannot be reached, and a Jury Trial will have to commence.
What can I expect in a Jury Trial?
The attorney will meet with you prior to Jury Trial to go over documents and preparation for Trial by Jury.
More questions? Contact the preeminent team of eviction experts.
Although our goal is to educate you on the eviction process, it is best journeyed with an experienced team that understands the specialized documentation, unforgiving deadlines, and the myriad details that can tank your unlawful detainer action.