Very few people are confused about what it means to be “evicted” from property. If you are like me, you envision an “eviction” involving an angry sheriff’s deputy who presides over your physical extraction from the property, together with all of your belongings, which are dumped unceremoniously onto the curb, spilling out into the street at precisely the right moment so they can be run over by a passing city bus. I might be overdoing it a little, but for most people, even the thought of an eviction is cringe-worthy. What will the neighbors think? But most eviction proceedings do not end in such dramatic fashion, perhaps because most tenants do not wish to experience what might be a very unpleasant and public introduction to homelessness.
The eviction or “unlawful detainer,” (as it is referred to by judges, court administrators and lawyers who know what they’re talking about) is a summary proceeding that remains a mystery to many people (and to some lawyers).
- How do I get started?
- Was I still supposed to be paying rent if my apartment was infested with cat-sized rats?
- Why can’t I get a judgment in an unlawful detainer for the rent I am owed by this deadbeat tenant?
- What occurs at the first appearance, or at an unlawful detainer trial?
- What if the tenant leaves a recliner at the property, or 30 bags of garbage in the garage?
- What if I threw away “garbage” consisting of some very valuable vintage action figures that my tenant had devoted his life to collecting?
- What rights does a tenant have when a landlord withholds a security deposit without explaining why?
- If a tenant sues me, when might I have to pay his/her attorneys’ fees?
Many of these questions are answered in this article. Some are not (If your question is about cat-sized rats, please call me, because I would like to put that video on YouTube). For everyone else, I hope you find this article helpful. And don’t worry, the rest of this article is much more boring and informative than the introduction.