Basics of the Eviction Process

If you have a tenant who fails to pay rent:

  1. Service notice via a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate;
  2. Tenant does not pay or move out: serve them with an unlawful detainer action;
  3. No answer get a default judgment, with a writ of restitution;
  4. Answer received: set up a show cause hearing, obtain judgment and writ of restitution;
  5. Lose at show cause hearing: then you go to trial;

3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate

Once a tenant is in default in paying rent, the landlord may serve the tenant with a three day notice to pay rent or vacate. Instructions on proper service can be found “here” (http://accessevictions.com/3-day-notice-pay-rent-vacate.pdf).

Unlawful Detainer Action

If the tenant does not pay the full amount of rent (if you accept a payment, it starts the notice period over) or move out serve them with a Summons & Complaint for Unlawful Detainer. The tenant has to have at least 7 days to respond from the date they are served with the unlawful detainer action.

Show Cause Hearing or Default: Answer or No Answer

If you get an answer note the case for a show cause hearing. At a show causing hearing the tenant has to explain why they should still get possession of the premises. Most evictions get resolved by a show cause hearing or default.

If you don’t get an answer, you can get a judgment and writ of restitution by default. The writ of restitution is the legal document you need to get back possession of the premises.


If the judge decides there are issues for trial and a writ of restitution is not issued, then the case should be noted for trial. This is very rare.

The most Typical Tenant Problems

Issue: My landlord hasn’t refunded by my deposit or told me why they are keeping it.

Answer: Has it been 14 days? Call me. The landlord, by statute, has to refund you within 14 days or provide a written response as to why the deposit is being kept. When the landlord fails to do this you can sue for 2x the deposit. If it hasn’t been 14 days, wait until it has. Even if the deposit is only $200 don’t just let it go, call me.

Issue: Something is broken, breaking, or just scary wrong. A few examples: no heat, no water, no power, light fixture hanging by one wire, outlets are sparking or shorting out constantly.

Answer: Call me. I can help you give your landlord the proper written notice so that you can actually get the situation resolved! Do not just call your landlord. Written notice is required under the statute.