California Eviction Laws and Eviction Process

A reference of California Eviction Laws, and steps of the California eviction process for landlords and renters, updated 2021.

  • What are the reasons that landlords can evict tenants under California eviction laws?
  • What notice do California eviction laws require that landlords provide tenants before starting the eviction process?
    • For evictions based on non-payment of rent, the landlord must give a 3-day notice to pay rent before starting the eviction process. (Calif. Civil Code § 1161(2)).
    • For evictions based on non-compliance of the lease terms where the tenant can fix the problem or “cure” it, the landlord must provide a 3-day notice for non-compliance (curable)  (Calif. Civil Code § 1161(3)).
    • For evictions based on the tenant’s commission of an illegal violation and nothing can cure it, the landlord must provide a 3-day eviction notice of non-compliance (incurable). (Calif. Civil Code § 1161(3)).
    • For evictions based on an illegal holdover, the landlord must give the tenant at least 60 days’ notice if the tenant has lived on the property for at least one year or 30 days’ notice if the tenant has lived on the property for less than one year. (Calif. Civil Code § 1946.1).
  • Do California eviction laws allow landlords to use “self-help eviction” methods, such as locking a tenant out of the rental unit or shutting off the utilities? 
    • No. California law forbids landlords from using self-help eviction methods. If a landlord violates this law, they can be required to pay actual damages, plus $100 per day of the violation. Cal. Civ. Code § 789.3

California Eviction Process

Landlords must follow these steps to carry out a lawful eviction: in California:

  1. Deliver the eviction notice. To initiate the Caliornia eviction process, the landlord must provide the proper type of eviction notice to the tenant, based on the reason for eviction. 
  2. Wait for the tenant to fix the problem. The landlord must give the tenant the appropriate amount of days to cure the problem, if applicable. The number of days depends on what type of notice the landlord delivered. If the tenant does not fix the problem, the landlord can continue with the legal process to evict the tenant. 
  3. File the necessary court documents. The landlord will need to pay the appropriate filing fee and file the following completed documents:

These documents are submitted in the county court where the property is located. 

  1. Serve the tenant. The landlord must ensure that the tenant has an opportunity to respond to the legal action. They do so by having the tenant legally served and having the process server complete a proof of service form. The landlord files this form with the court. 
  2. Wait for the tenant to answer. The tenant can respond to the complaint by filing an Answer (Form UD-105). The tenant has 5 days to complete this answer if served in person or 15 days if served by mail.
  3. Request a court judgment. If the tenant does not respond, the landlord can request a default judgment against them. The landlord would need to submit the following forms to the court:

All required documents are on the California Courts website.

Or Attend the court hearing

If the tenant does respond, the landlord will submit a Request to Set Case for Trial – Unlawful Detainer (Form UD-150). This form establishes a date when the hearing will be held, estimates how long the case will take, and identifies the issues in dispute. 

Both parties appear at the court hearing and present their witnesses and evidence. 

If the court rules in favor of the landlord, the landlord will have the judge sign the Judgment for Unlawful Detainer (UD-110) and the Writ of Possession (EJ-130).

7. Deliver the Writ of Possession to the county sheriff. The landlord provides a signed Writ of Possession to the county sheriff who can forcibly remove the tenant.

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