What You Should Know About An Unlawful Detainer

February 22nd, 2006 by

Unlawful detainer: sounds scary, but is it really? The answer is both yes and no. Unlawful detainer is a serious legal action that your landlord is only allowed to take against you if you’ve broken the terms of your lease. It’s a final, drastic move toward eviction that will almost certainly result in you moving out of your apartment. However, it’s also possible to avoid going to court over an unlawful detainer. Read on to learn more about what an unlawful detainer is and what you need to do about it.

Why you were served

Why did you get served with an unlawful detainer, anyway? You probably continued living in your apartment after your lease expired and you were asked to leave, or perhaps you stopped paying rent for a prolonged period of time. You may also have violated another term of your lease agreement, perhaps by having pets in an apartment where they’re not allowed, being so loud and disruptive that other neighbors are complaining, or doing something clearly illegal like selling drugs out of your apartment. This type of behavior is definitely not allowed, and you should definitely be moving out pronto. Whether you’re just lazy or you have nowhere else to go, you’ve put yourself in a really tough situation by staying in a place you’re not legally entitled to occupy. The first and most important thing you need to realize is that you’re being served with an unlawful detainer not only because you’ve done something wrong, but also because you’ve failed to respond to previous notifications of this fact. You are at fault here, and your landlord is simply making you accountable for it.

How you can get out of it: Get out of your apartment!!

The good news is that it’s extremely easy to escape the unlawful detainer you’ve been served. All you have to do is move out of your apartment, and the case will be dismissed by the presiding judge. Since the unlawful detainer action is solely about the occupancy of the apartment, you eliminate the need to hear the case by moving out. Your landlord may still press charges for unpaid rent or damages to the apartment, but the unlawful detainer case itself will be over. Keep in mind that unlawful detainer cases are specifically about occupation of the housing in question. By moving out, you provide a perfect solution to the situation. Your landlord may file another suit against you to recover unpaid rent, but you won’t have to deal with the unlawful detainer itself anymore.

Filing your Answer

Since unlawful detainer is a last resort intended to get you out of your apartment immediately, the proceedings move fast. Once your landlord provides you with notice of an unlawful detainer, you have 5 days to file a response. Start counting these days with the first day after you were served. If the last day of the five is a court holiday or weekend, you must file on the next day the court is open. Once you’ve completed your Answer form, available from your local district court, you’ll need to have a third party not involved in the case serve a copy of this form to your landlord for you, since you can’t serve the Answer yourself. This third party must be an adult and needs to sign a proof of service when sending the Answer to your landlord or the landlord’s attorney. Once the copy is sent to the landlord, you’ll also need to file your original Answer with the court serving this case. Since laws and filing times or procedures may vary by state, please check with your local court to verify your area laws. Once all the paperwork is filed, you’ll be on the fast track for a trial, which will probably happen within 20 days. As noted, all you have to do to avoid a trial in this situation is get out of your apartment—so do that, if at all possible.

Other matters

It should be noted that unlawful detainer proceedings do not cover arguments about security deposits or rental losses (the rent you failed to pay to your landlord while still living in the apartment). Unlawful detainer proceedings also do not have provisions for you, the defendant, to file a cross-complaint against your landlord. If you have problems with your landlord’s actions, you’ll need to file a separate suit to address those issues.

Settling the situation

If you don’t file a response to the unlawful detainer within five days, you’ll be subject to eviction. Your landlord cannot evict you, but a local Sheriff can and will. It’s very important to take unlawful detainer seriously by filing a response and addressing the issue in discussion with your landlord, if possible. You’ll most likely want to settle the situation out of court, as having an unlawful detainer judgment against you can be a serious hindrance to your ability to rent property in the future. Moreover, settling without going to trial will save you time, legal fees, and a lot of hassle.

The best way to resolve the situation is probably by talking with your landlord. If the situation has become so extreme that you can’t deal with one another directly, you may want to schedule a legal mediation. You’ll probably work out a settlement involving you moving out as soon as possible and probably paying back rent to your landlord. If you’re able to reach a settlement, get it in writing, making sure everyone signs and keeps a copy. In addition, your landlord needs to notify the court as soon as possible that an agreement has been reached and the case no longer needs to be heard.

If you must stay

Should your case go to trial and result in a judgment in favor of your landlord, you still have the power to appeal the decision in court. If you’re in a situation of extreme hardship and are unable to leave your apartment immediately, you can also file for a stay of enforcement that may allow you to remain in the property if you doing so does not cause undue hardship for your landlord. Do note that you’ll still have to pay rent in advance in order to receive a stay.

The best solution: Avoid it altogether!

The best way to deal with an unlawful detainer is to avoid being served with one in the first place. Pay your rent on time, move out on time, and follow the other terms of your lease. Your landlord gives you a place to live. You should appreciate this service, not abuse it. It’s very unlikely that you’ll be served with an unlawful detainer unless you’ve committed some serious and repeated violations of your lease agreement. Be a good tenant and avoid creating a sticky situation for both yourself and your landlord: avoid unlawful detainer. Pay rent!

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48 Responses to “What You Should Know About An Unlawful Detainer”

  1. Guest Says:

    This is all good information and I appreciate the advice of moving out of the apartment, but what about when your landlord is a low-life shiester who hires the same in an “attorney”? We were supposedly served by “posting” and “mailing”. We never received it by mail and only received a “request for entry of default” which by then the court date had come and gone. We later looked around outside to see if maybe it blew off the door or something and found it under the door mat. The only thing that saved us was that they didn’t name my boyfriend in the eviction, so we filed a “claim of right to possession and notice of hearing”. This gave us a new court date which gave us more time to move our things out. We have been living there for two years, the 6mo lease ran out after the first six mos. We have paid rent late (sometimes even 2mos late) and now they are evicting us for being two weeks late. The apartment is and was from the start in bad shape but we needed a place “now” and they promissed to fix things over time. They never fixed anything. I was waiting for the unlawful detainer because I felt that I had some good defenses and believed that the judge might even lower the rent. If that were to have happened, we might not have been late at all. In addition, I read somewhere that I could possibly get all of the $50 late fees (each month since we’ve been there) back and apply them towards any rent that is due. This is probably why they tried to railroad us out.

  2. Guest Says:

    Always a correct way to do things. It sounded like the couple above may not have been properly served. As for “waiting for the UD because I felt I had some good defenses,” this only hurts the tenant. The correct way to deal with the issues of repairs is first with the landlord in writing, and then by involving an inspector, or contacting your local renter’s advocates. In extreme cases, you may be able to withhold rent, but usually it is by first going to court and then placing your rent in escrow with the court (pay it to the court to release when repairs are made).
    The landlord may be dubious. Even if the LL is dubious, you can be exemplary and thorough in documenting what has been going on and then taking it through the proper channels.
    It just isn’t worth it to risk your good name and rental history because you didn’t follow the law. The LL wins that way, too.

  3. Guest Says:

    How long does an Unlawful Retainer last on your rental record? Or, how far back do Landlords tend to go back to view your history prior to renting again?

  4. Guest Says:

    I actually went to court & reached an agreement giving me a certian amount og time in order to pay the rent owed. I thought I would be able to apply for emergency asst. & recieve a loan in time (noted I had just lost my job) But I wasn’t able to get the money together & resulted in moving out… I’ve been thinking that I have a UD on my record now… but really Im not sure… DO I???

  5. Guest Says:

    The way I am understanding Unlawful Detainers is this: If you do not file a written response to one, the landlord will win a default judgement. It doesn’t matter if you have moved out or not.

    Even if you have moved out, you need to retain possession of the unit in order to go through the court process.

    Once you give up possession of the unit AND fail to respond to an Unlawful Detainer, you LOSE!

  6. Guest Says:

    How long does an Unlawful Retainer last on your rental record?

  7. Guest Says:

    I think landlord so not evict a person while they are medically incompetent meaning that if a person is in the hospital such as a birth of a child or surgery. The tenant did talk to manager of the apartment complex while in hospital and who are also gave verbal agreement to pay rent when discharge. The tenant end up getting an unlawful detainer notice when arriving home surprisely. what rights of the tenant has? the tenant try to talk manager and manager stated is out of her hands because she is not the owner. also tenant had rent as promise and much more, but the owner continue on with process. that tenant end up in the homeless shelter with her children. I think that is wrong. People say that person should had fought it, but when a person is medically trying to recover that is hard to do. So now that person is having a great hard time getting a place to live for her family as a single parent for which she never will trust landlords or managers again.

  8. Guest Says:

    does a neighbor have the right to know of another neighbors unlawful detainer and eviction court dates

  9. Guest Says:

    if your landlord is breaking the law,and you have always paid your rent on time, due to his renting an illegal guest house, I have had and continue to have a very serious life threatning ailment.
    I cannot drive or pack, what do I do

  10. Guest Says:

    If you break your lease and the landlord takes you to court and you don’t show up, what will happen?

  11. Guest Says:

    For California related UD information, check out:


  12. Guest Says:

    How do you appeal a unlawful detainer judgement. Here is what happened. Our place was inhabitable and we have pictures and documents. We won the first case because it was dismissed. The company finally made repairs after 6 mths. WE recently went to court and we believe the attorney broke procedure and we were not present when the judge signed the stipulation in the courtroom. We noticed some extra wording on the agreement we made and we want to appeal it. How do we go about doing this. Also they said we give up our rights and we know we did not want that checked.

  13. Guest Says:

    My husband and family moved into a 3 bedroom apartment in 9/07 the place is a bit rundown but there was eanough room for all of us. My son-in-law was sopose to pay part of the utilities and part of the rent in which he never did. Now he, my daughter and grandson have moved out leaving us with enormas utility bills and behind on the rent. I have spoken to the landlord about the rent, he says we “O” more than my records show but I told him that work was now starting to pick up and we would pay extra each month till we got cought up. 2 days later we got leagel papers stateing that we are being taken to court for back rent owed. Than we got papers in the mail from the court system stateing the date and time but we didn’t have to show up for it. What exactly does all this mean? The papers do not say any thing as to what we need to do, my husband is the only one working, and we can’t afford a lawyar, and we can’t get a loan to get cought up. And my husband makes too much to get leagel-aid. Any sugestions? The appartment in my oppion should be condemed, after liveing here for the past several months, I have found cealing tiles falling, leaky roof, you can see daylight from around each door, the so called double hung windows are real nice but there are window frames missing, windows nailed shut because they don’t close right. 2 of the 3 gas heaters doesn’t work, the bath tub water leaks constantly(I pay for the water) and the pipes in the basment also leak. It was outragious to try to heat the place(over $1000 a month) and trust me it wasn’t all that worm, the heat just goes out all the spaces. Andthe neibor has stated to my that the landloard has been inside my appartment several times when we were not home and without our nolage. Do we have any leagel grounds here?

  14. Guest Says:

    I have a landlord who is my sister in law ,she has now proceeded to remove us from her house. I recently had a liver transplant approx 26 days ago.now she wants to kick us out . we received a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit saying she is owed900.00 back rent from march through april 30 , we gave her a check for 1700.00 which cleared on april 2, then when i was in the hospital she came into the house without approval and took my rabbits away ,she shut off the water ,and continues to harrass us. what can i do ?

  15. Guest Says:

    Court information is public information.

  16. Guest Says:

    who is allowed to serve the tenant the unlawful detainer?the manager?

  17. Guest Says:

    I am currently seeking to move into a new apartment in San Jose, California. I’ve had one unlawful detainer/eviction in my life (I’m 41 years old), and it happened almost two years ago. How do I get around this obstacle when it comes to apartment searches. The situation surrounding my UD also helped to ruin much of my credit. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can improve my chances of getting a place for right now?

  18. Guest Says:

    How do I get someone out of a house I recently entered into escrow to buy?

  19. Guest Says:

    If I filed an answer to an unlawful detainer on the 5th day, is it too late to file a proof of service on the next business day?

  20. Guest Says:

    My landlord filed with the court that I was personally served during the time I wasout of town. I filed the stay and have a court date in 2 days to set aside the judgement because I have proof I was never served. The sheriff put a notice on my door last week. The plaintiff’s attorney called me to ask what I want to do twice this week. An hour ago I was served the papers they told the court they served two weeks ago. I will see him in court.

  21. Guest Says:

    ” I’ve had one unlawful detainer/eviction in my life (I’m 41 years old), and it happened almost two years ago. How do I get around this obstacle when it comes to apartment searches” – 2 years is not along time…avoid that kind of obstacle by following your rental rules!

    “The situation surrounding my UD also helped to ruin much of my credit.” – I find it funny how you are still not accepting the blame yourself. The UD didn’t help ruin your credit…you not doing what you should have helped ruin your credit!

    “Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can improve my chances of getting a place for right now?”
    Yes… Forgive yourself for your past wrong doings and pray you find someone with a good heart that with trust in you and your new found honesty. And when you do…understand that renting a place is not a right..its a privaledge..be thankful..not childish.

  22. Guest Says:

    I was just looking for information when I came across this blog. Who ever wrote this is so bias toward landlords that they haven’t even mentioned that there are property management companies who want to throw tenants out in rent controlled areas and will hire losers who can’t get jobs anywhere else as resident managers. LA power-tripping out-of-work actors do whatever they’re told, i.e. start petitions with people they party with in the building, etc. to get other tenants out who pay less than top dollar or just because they’re unable to get new tenant to help evict old tenants. Some do, some don’t go along with plan A. Where is this even addressed on this blog. The landlord is NOT doing anyone a favor, they are profiting, gouging and even have illegals doing maintenance work while trying to pick up female tenants. Landlords have a responsibility to keep an eye out, not disappear and let a manager wreak havoc and refuse to do anything about it, just because they can and God forbid anyone complain about anything, that’s also grounds for a frivolous law suite UD. When a landlord takes your money, they aren’t doing you a favor… the have to deliver, seems that’s not possible without complaining in Los Angeles. I’ve seen tenants settle for $20K and up. Some just settle for 3 months rent. No matter the emotional harm is done and there’s not enough money to erase it or the fact that getting your own property is the only way to live in desirable areas of LA. It’s like being emotionally blackmailed into silence or here comes another trumped up UD your way. Oh, they want you to name a price through your attorney, the nuisance complaint can’t hold up- too many holes in the stories, but lots of resident manager party-pot drinking friends to lie. So, lets make a deal! Landlords should be GRATEFUL to the tenants who ALWAYS pay on time, but want a professional manager and not a tantrum throwing, hangover- agitated- wannabe who refuses to grow-up and realize tenants are not here to please them and be the family they never had and never will have because of the neurotic nature of the resident managers and their neediness. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you’ve all heard enough for now. Thanks for listening


  23. Guest Says:

    My boyfriend has an unlawful detainer that is around 3 or 4 years old. All her received was a paper stating he owed money and hasn’t had any other papers come to him after that. Now on this check today he’s finds out they are deducting $400 at a time to pay for it. But, he was never served papers stating they had a court date for it. Why wasn’t he notified so he could of attended? Anybody?

  24. Guest Says:

    You forgot to mention retaliatory evictions,discrimination etc…

  25. Guest Says:

    Can a renter still pay his/her rent, after they’ve been served with Unlawful Detainer papers? I’m 25 days late on paying my rent, but the terrible thing is that I’ve had the entire amount for awhile now, but could not pay it without including a $50 fee for it being late in the first place! I was just served the UD papers today (rather they were left w/my house-guest), so I want to know if this will all go away if I pay my rent/fees and file my answer to the court?

  26. Guest Says:

    My parents, my brother and I were sharing the apartment but my brother and I moved out of there more than a year ago. However, I failed to give a written notice to the landlord that I was moving out. Do I need to fill out the UD that was served to my parents that also has my name on it even though I no longer live there?

  27. Guest Says:

    I would just like to add a few words to what carrie has been say-ing. Most certainly there are good Land lords and there are bad Land Lords. I am of the opinion that there are far more bad land Lords if you are a person of limited resources. let me relate a personal expericance I am going through right now with my old Land Lord of 5 months now. I can relate to the moronic managmenst teams some people are willing to hire to over see there rental units. You are so right about the hole cheap labor thing. These land Lords hire young high school drop out and give them $500.00 a week plus 50% of there own rent and fill there heads with the some day if your good i will make you a business partner and you will get 3% of all sale when I sell this place. By saying this it instills in this I know everyting because i have so much kife expericane young lady with the I guess I don’t realy have to be resposable for the up keep of this place because the owner is selling it and I will be transfered to one of her ever so lovaly other income restricted complex’s. With this kind of attatude you can imagine my anger when the water from the apartment above me that had been fixxed several times in the earlier weeks came crashing down on us. The incadent caused me to loose 2 toes and I mean chopped off toe’s. This is hard for me as a woman to deal with as I love sandals and paintinfg my toe nails, thats not to say that a man would be any more less upset especialy ig he is any kind of sports junkie balance is a key part to walking. Being the good natured person I am I asked that they give me the insuarnce information when they could get around to it figuring they would feel some sort of remorse for the shoty workmanship that had been done incorrcetly. After 6 months passed with no word and other incadents in the apartment I begain to wonder what the heck is going on here and since I was off my feet my son was putting the rent check in the rent box, and by the way I have never been late for rent one day any place I have livedm I am not bragging but it a oint that will show it’s self soon enough) Because my son is a teen he would put the rent in the box on the night before the first of the month and so we had no idea that the I know verything high school drop nout had been replaced with Ya I don’t have a high school deplomia or how ever you spell it, but i gots me a truck and I won a yellow ribbon in the fair this year for making my moms horse stop 9 inches from the white line, and besides that i suck a beer down faster than any man on the planet and I eat pizza on sundays and drink more beers and fart and burp better than my husband or any of his friends. I can’t tell how releaved I was to know we know had an experianced methain snifer as a manager, I was pleased as punch but my son and his friends where even more please especialy on the day they crowned her the fart F***king master and handed over the blue ribbon it wa a tearful day for all of us. When I asked her for the insurance information she responded quickly and handed me the card of the card to the guy who insures her Dodge rammed truck. I decided I would have to do the digging my self for insurance info, as I begain to gather information I soon discovered that 31 other people who had been injured in various common area’s and they were also waiting for insurance info. When people had found out I had been injured they came knocking at my door they figured that since I have so education they should ask me to advicate for all of us. When I recieved my doctors dagree I had decided I wouold work for my fellow man and not the almighty dollar, I formed a plan to take pictures of all the area’s that where in serious need of repairs and take it to the owner directly, I showed her we all had cause to file for an inpplied warrent of inhbbitability nd that she was in serious violation of code enforcment regulations, she fired the berr farting fat chick and hired the invisable man/woman to run things while she sold the place to a lottery winner how has never in her life even seen a P.C. screen and she sold it to her dirty cheap one one condition she hand the 3 biggest threats to her a 21 day no cause eviction, I live in Washington State and it is 1 of 2 State that have that law, the other state being our neighbor OR State, I had never heard of such a thing how can a land Lord evict some-one how has nevevr missed there rent and never been in trouble and pretty much keeps to them selves, why would a land Lord want to get rid of a tenant who pays on time??? I decided to ask what was going on with the new owner and I was told that the 3 tenatss who got the 21 day got them because she need our apartments for staffing needs, my jaw dropped and I protested, she said she would see what she could do and as my daughter pushed me out the doorr in my wheel chair and we headed down the ramp I was tossed from my wheel chair and on to my face because the maintanice man who was blasting the walk way was to concerend with watching the bathing beauities rub lotion on the selfs and not paying attention to his task and even if had been paying attention I am not so sure her would know what to do with a blaster since i am sure that in his own country his main occupation was how to get to this country, (not that there is any thing wrong with that, but when you have a piece of heavy equipment running the guy who is running it should be able to read the directions on the side of the machine??) needless to say I was back in the hospital this time with my daughter next to me and when we got out we had only 6 days before the 21 days where up and I was down and wasn’t going any where I could not move even if Brad pitt was on the other side of my room with chocolate hanging from all the right place’sm and so un day 22 I was given a U.D. I requested reasonable accomidations but was turned down and now I had 8 days to prepare an answer and so I pulled out the old lap top and with one finger typed out an answer and when i was rolled into court on day 8 The judge allowed me to stay setted in my wheel chair and allowed my attenfant to stand with me and when the Judge asked the owner for reasonable accomidations she was told no. You could have heard a pin concert when the new owner told the Judge no. The Judge appoligized to me and said he hands where tied becuase it is the law that if a land lord wants to end tenancy they can, she had no choice but to grant the owner posesion. When the Judge asked how much the back rent was they answered 0, when she asked about other fees they said 0, the judge said to me I don’t know what you know or what has happend here but this day will be historical because I have already said I am sirry to you twice and I am about to say it again and I never am sorry for my rullings. We had to let the owner put our things in storage since my daughter was in the bed bext to me and my son could not do it all by him self/ 4 and 1/2 weeks later I get a notice from the new owner saying I can’t have our things unless we pay her $2200.00 and at this point I am irate and call her Attorney who quickly calls her to let her know she is inviolation of the court order not to mention this is a criminal act. I go to get my things and find out that they had trown 80% of our stuff away and made our fee’s so high thinking we would not be able to pay it or I would not know that what they where doing was criminal and after 45 days they could just toss it any way and that where we are at today, so when I hear some-one say our Land Lord is a nice guy and we should give him a breack because he is giving me a place to stay I get a bit upset and want to tell every one if you jabe a Land Lord like I did you should be working on giving him a place to stay for oh about 5-19 years and every day I look at my foot and see the way it is I’m motivated and when I look at my daughters face and see the faint scares of skin that had been blown off I get determined. NO ONE HAS A RIGHT TO TREAT ANOTHER PERSON WITH SUCH DISGRACE!! AND IF I WIN THE JUDGMENT I AM

  28. Guest Says:

    I just wanted to say this. We are landlords, we own a duplex and rent out one side. We have an older gentleman that has lived there 18 months now. He moved in July 2007, and starting Oct 2007 he stopped paying his rent. Coming up on the holiday months we did not have the heart to evict him. Since he was not able to pay the rent, we did not even ask him for the electric bill which he was supposed to get turned into his name and pay. We did not receive anything until March 2008. At that time he did get us caught up and we talked. It was decided that instead of renting the entire unit, he would pay for half the rent and we would take one of the bedrooms for our young adult son. We still at this time did not ask for any utilities. At that time it was also noted on the new rental agreement that if he was late one day, that we would start eviction process. Things went good for a couple of months and then it started again, one sob story after another, his daughter had cancer, a grandchild passed away, he lost his job, he started another job and lost it 3 days later. Once again it hit our soft hearts and we never did start eviction process. He then started collecting his Social Security and decided to remain retired instead of working, and once again we didn’t get paid until the end of the month instead of on the 1st when the rent was due. We told him in Oct. 2008 that we would not be able to carry him this winter as we did the last one. With the economy the way it was, and that we would need to be paid. As of today 1/13/09, we still are owed $150.00 from December and January’s rent. We have finally had enough and gave a 3 day notice, only to be informed today that he would be out by the end of the month. We told him that he was served with a 3 day and that he was supposed to be out by Monday the 12th of January, and that the next step was court. We are not rich, we have creditors knocking on our door also, but we do have our mortgage paid every month on time. We live paycheck to paycheck just as everyone is. We are all about the rights of others/tenants, we have done everything that we could to make things legal and up and up. In searching the net on how to proceed with this eviction process so we can do it ourselves, to save us money and perhaps the gentleman so he does not have to pay our attorney’s fees also, all I have seen are about the rights of tenants, but what about the rights of landlords?

    Not all landlords are bad, sometimes it’s the tenants that make us that way.


  29. SH Says:

    The condo I have lived in for almost 5 years was foreclosed upon in Dec. The previous owner and my landlord was in Bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy court ordered the sale through foreclosure
    of my condo and 16 others . The company holding the mortgages bought all the condo’s except one back at foreclosure thus they became my landlord. I began to pay rent to the new landlord. He put in writing that I could stay in the condo until the end of April. In the meantime he signed a leasing agreement with a rental management company for them to manage the properties. My new landlord told me that the managment company would be sending me a lease. Instead of a lease I was sent an application to lease. In this they wanted a great amt of information on me
    and indicated a credit check. Due to a bad experience with my ex husband I had to file bankruptcy 3 years ago and have not restored my credit. I am debt free and do not have bad credit per say but basically I do not have any credit. So this put me I felt in a vulnerable and akward situation. Also the application said NO ANIMALS and I have animals. So I opted not to fill out the application. Because of that I was sent a notice by the management company that my lease would not be renewed and gave me so many days to move out. I had no place to move to. Although a friend is in the process of trying to buy for me a house to move to and to live in. But that does not happen overnight. In the meantime I have to have a place to live and so do my animals. I continued to pay my rent, the owner cashed my check…suddenly I was served an UD and am being sued for $1500. There is no explanation as to what the amt. is for. I hired an attorney today and he is filing a reply for me within the 7 day time period. He is telling me that the landlord is in breech of contract with me since I have in writing from him in an email an acknowledgement that I have until the end of April to live in the condo. It is April 9 and the UD was served on me April 7. My attorney is telling me I can counter sue and recover aprox. 3 months of rent already paid to the landlord since my peace and quiet enjoyment has been interupted for the past 3 and a half months I have remained in the condo. I may need to the end of May to get the financing though on my purchase. It is hard being a single mom, trying to pack, find a place to move to , obtaining it, going against the terrible conditions of our current economy and all odds in moving much less a bloodless landlord such as the one I have working to put me out on the street. I am concerned now about having this unlawful detainer on my record…it absolutely had not better in any way harm my credit. I am going to make sure that I discuss this with my attorney whom I have a meeting with later in the day.

    The landlord is in breech of our agreement and has harmed me in doing so. I am a law abiding tenant…one that has greatly helped increase the quality of living in the neighborhood. I pay my rent in full and on time. The real reason the landlord wants me out is because he has a vendetta against me for some unknown reason. He just basically does not like me. I personally think its spiritual. I stand for good. He doesn’t like that…he is evil and an power hungry idiiot. My rent is $850 a month. If I were a landlord and someone was paying me that much money per month I would work to keep them happy and thank them monthly for paying their rent on time. We shall see what happens.

  30. Elyse Says:

    Back in 2007 I had my landlord serve me an eviction notice I went to court and made an agreement to try stay and pay off the rent inhe provided. I thought that I would be able to get emergency assistance thru the county plus take out a tribal loan to pai owed rent but ended not getting any iformatn back before my time limit was up and proceeded t move out by set given date if I was unale to pay…Im not sure if I hve a UD on my record or not and am currently homeless staying with a friend but really would like to feel confident in rentg without worring about a UD as I have a two year old daughter and am currently 5 and a half months pregnant…my question is do I have a UD on my record???

  31. Helping friend Says:

    When a landlord serves a 3 day pay or quit and leaves it on the door, I read that a copy must be mailed to the tenant as well. What if there never was a copy mailed out? What does that mean, and how do you prove that a copy was not received by mail?

  32. wordscan'texpress Says:

    Wow MB you sound like really decent people and I commend you on that but you should still not be taken advantage of like that but look at it this way…you will be blessed. Good things happen to good people. Not necessarily in our time but it does. Right now my heart is broken because today I went to court with my landlord. We have lived in this property for almost two years now and have always paid our rent on time…even early if it fell on holidays. Everythings was just fine even though there were repairs that needed to be done we did not really bother them till one day we had a leak that was coming from inside a wall and in addition our back door that had been a problem before just wouldn’t open. The landlords fixed the leak but left the missing wall that they had to remove which caused a draft that made my stove inoperable and caused my utilities to go up over a $100, never fixed the door that we couldn’t open and left other repairs undone like us not having hot water that I had to pay for. Also the front door handle is about to fall off and the latches have been a problem since we moved in where our doors have blown open several times when locked! She also stopped managing the gardening. 2wks after the plumbing issue the landlord sends us notice that she is unable to keep up with the property and to leave in 30days. Mind you she was supposed to have given us 60. I pleaded because I live paycheck to paycheck and have four kids and have been a good tenant so why would she do this when she was losing the property anyhow.She had not been making pymnts for 4 months before this. She proceeded to tell me that she had things in the property she wanted(basically to strip it) At that point I said enough is enough and ignored her illegal notice and requested repair again and said that i would be witholding rent. I kept it all in a bank account and went to court with all my pictures and documents. She got a last minute attorney and of course I couldn’t get one. We were the last case and every case heard the judge was in favor of the landlords. I thought for sure the judge would look at the fact that we were good tenants and that I did everything by the book and how she was first in breach of contract yet he did not listen to a word I said and gave me no credit for repairs I made, nor deductions for major ones she hadn’t and no credit for my security deposit and told me that the sheriff would be around in two weeks to lock us out. I know I have to appeal but it seems hard to get help and I am just so drained from this. Now my children and I have to find a new place and my good credit will now have that on it and I fear that by being a renter here in CA that landlords are so protected and can do whatever they want so my four children and I will be vulnerable again. How does that happen?? Why isn’t there more pressure for landlords to do as they should.

  33. Scotty Says:

    I find it rather funny about how long an unlawful detainer lasts on your credit record, the thing is, that this is not on your credit record. The monetary judgment will stay on your record until it is paid. Judgments last for 10 years in California, and can be renewed if unsatisfied for another 10 years (Landlords must be careful to renew before the 10 years is up).

    Some companies keep track of unlawful detainer court filings. This is great, because they are not giving a record of unpaid debt, or money owed, but whether you have been the defendant in a civil court case, specifically, unlawful detainer. Since all they are doing is recording if there was ever a record of someone involved in an unlawful detainer, they never get rid of this information. There might be some statutes on the books to make them remove them from their records, but why bother? If you won an unlawful detainer, the public records might have been released and cataloged. So, if a landlord asks one of these companies if someone is in their records, they can truthfully say, yes. What a great idea! This is not a credit report, but just a request for facts about someone. Try it, you might like it. So, to answer the much asked question, How long does an unlawful detainer stay on my credit report? The answer is that it never was on your credit report. But you might want to ask, how long will some companies report the fact that you were involved in an unlawful detainer action? The answer is that facts are forever.

    And its a fact that you were asked to either fix a problem or pay or leave and did not do either before any unlawful detainer could be filed (in California).

  34. Rob Says:

    I know UD’s and judgments are placed on your credit report under public records. In CA a judgment can be renewed 3 times , once every 10 years. and the renewal would show up on your credit report . I personally own and manage 75 apartments and 11 houses and will never rent to someone with a eviction . There is no reason for someone to receive a unlawful detainer because if the landlord did not fix or whatever and the tenant did legal remedys as provided by law (repair and deduct), the judge would not grant the judgment to the landlord. If you argue you need shelter and have hard times i say, if you go to the store and grab a gallon of milk and dont have money to pay for it you dont get the milk even though you need it. I tell my tenants “you cannot make your problems my problems , I have problems too you wouldnt want my problems”. So someone with a unlawful detainer has no real justification for thier position, hence the word unlawful. In my opinion, someone with a UD has at one time Raped his/her landlord and used the system to legally steal by staying somewhere without paying and should be HOMELESS .

  35. ThunderGod28 Says:

    Okay, here’s my situation. My previous landlord sold the complex. The new owners took over and within a short period of time they put a notice on the door saying I have 3 months to vacate, that was on Feb. 24. The notice said I had to be out on April 24 (yesterday) and I now have 5 full days until the 1st. I have paid a full months rent for this month and they didn’t say anything about reimbursing me for the remaining days I have left until the 1st when I paid this month’s rent, I pay it in person, not through the mail. I have done no illegal activity nor have I had any other form of complaint against me while I lived here and I have never missed a payment. Can a landlord really try to get me to move 6 days before the 1st even though I am paid up until the 1st? Also, if I am served with a UD lawsuit, what’s gonna happen when the court sees that I was paid up, and I had only 6 days to go before the 1st? Won’t the lawsuit just be thrown out? Isn’t that a mistake on the landlord’s part for making the date off? I could understand if I was selling drugs, or being way too loud and they wanted me the hell out but that’s not the case. They have given adequate notice but I don’t understand why they would issue a “Be out” date a number of days before the beginning of a new month if I’ve been an ideal tenant. Usually an eviction is “Be out by the 1st” isn’t it? I will be gone before the 1st but I am paid up and want to get my money out of it. I also believe that the new owners want us tenants moved out because our rent is pretty cheap, $350.00 to be exact, and I think they want us out so they can rent these units out and raise the rent. They have all the paperwork that shows that when I moved into this place, it was on the 1st of that month. The unit/complex I’m in hasn’t been condemned or in any need of any kind of repair either.

  36. lola Says:

    okay im in a situation where i just got served a unlawful detainer notice n i have 5 days to respond to it! my question is: when they say respond to it in 5 days does this mean I have to write a personal letter to the landlord and court(2 copies of my original letter) or do i actually have to go to court and respond to the notice with a form/application! IM CONFUSED AS TO WHAT KIND OF LETTER I WILL NEED TO RESPOND TO THE NOTICE!! HELP!!

  37. Guest1 Says:

    For lola-

    It depends on the state. In California, there are specific forms that need to be filed to contest an unlawful detainer complaint. Blank forms can be purchased at courthouses or downloaded for free.

    It gets complicated if you insist on doing it yourself. It’s also time-consuming if you’ve never done it before. There are self-help books out there.

    Im not necessarily taking sides. I’ve heard of both landlords and tenants being scum.

  38. randy freeman Says:

    If served with a 60 day notice, when does the time start. Does it start after the last rent payment accepted buy management. My problem is that they served us a 60 day notice about two months ago, but were meeting with management to resolve the issue. We payed rent till now and they said our 60 day is over. I can not see how they started the 60 days if we were in the mix of fixing the issue and keep the apartment. They say that we only have a week of so to move out. “What is up with that.”

  39. PlayNice Says:

    Rob, you are a total douche. If I was the kind of person that actually wished terrible things on people I don’t know, I would certainly wish homelessness on YOU and your mean heart. But I’m not. I wish you would see how ugliness eats up your life like cancer.

  40. Jengen Says:

    Hello, wow there is a ton of great information, and even the idot like Rob, lol, gave me some amusement.
    There is no reason that anyone should be questioning what or how to handle a UD? WE HAVE THE INTERNET! I google every and any question I have.
    Where I live there is a free agency that assists with all the paperwork (copies), An attorny who explains and then answers any questions, and what I found most beneifical is they also serve the Answer to the UD to the property manager.
    After loosing my Unemployment Beneifits this past May 2012, I went in person to the management office to inform them of my circumstances and decided to put in my 30-day notice. I have no income at all and because I do not have any children under the age of 18, I don’t qualify for any other type assistance.
    “It is what, it is” You cant live anywhere for free. I will continue to pray and not dwell things I cant change.

  41. Smalltime Landlord Says:

    I own a house, a single family dwelling, in an area of Los ANgeles in a city with REnt Control. . I have had mostly great tenants, but I have also had some real problems with tenants. Very fortunately, I could without too much difficulty get rid of such people (yet not always without their trying to bully me around in the meantime), because am able to evict tenants without cause, as I feel should be the right of every landlord. I feel really sorry for any landlord who doesn’t have this right because they own property in a city where the city basically expropriates private property for the purpose of housing people, making it very difficult to evict anyone without “just cause.”

    Back in the day when I was a tenant, I voted AGAINST “just cause” laws because I knew that such laws would make it hard or impossible for my landlord to evict other tenants in my buildling who might become a problem for me, due to their noise, animosity, nasty behavior, etc. As a good tenant, I was not afraid of being evicted without cause, I was afraid of having to live in an apartment building where landlords could not get rid of nasty people, making life hell for some of the other tenants.

    I would also like to point out, in response to those tenants who are glad to have “free agencies” that assist tenants in legal matters, that though you may not realize it, some landlords are also poor and/or unemployed, or have relatively low income. I believe it is ridiculously unfair that there exist, in some cities, large numbers of agencies offering free legal help to tenants, but none who do the same for landlords who because of their low income level also need free legal help. Yes landlords can evict tenants, but there are more tenants suing landlords than landlords suing tenants in other than UD suits or small claims for apartment damages. And when sued by a tenant, a poor landlord can’t afford $350 an hour for an attorney.

  42. wade Says:

    If I have an unlawful detainer and the judge has issued the tenant to move out immediately. How long do I have to wait before getting rid of all the stuff they left behind.

  43. wade Says:


  44. tori Says:

    I was the defendant and I won a forcible entry and detainer judgement. Can the plantiff sue me again for back rent again.

  45. Carol Says:

    I was just served after complaining about a very noisy upstairs neighbor. this place is the worst I have ever lived. the landlord is not always right. that is what I hate about the UD. the eviction was retaliatory.

  46. Bonnie Sue Says:

    hello pls i need help iam on disalibty $866.00 monthly.and my son is in my apt i have been trying to get him out for over 2yrs now hes not on the leese.he doesnt help with any rent or anything and i dont want him too i just want him out.hes now bring women to sleep her with him.while iam in the kitchen washing my clothes out by hand cause i cant afford to do them all in the wash house i just dont have the money so i wash what i can.and iam not complaining about that but hes so sure about himself that he has all the time in the world it seems the system isnt on the side of all the victums.i was told to download a form unlawful detainer but there are so many different ones i dont know the correct one thats what i would like to know thanks for any and all help Bonnie

  47. Caroline Gunns Says:

    I was in the hospital the first week of Oct. 2013. I got a visit from my L.L. He told me he would give me 1,000. to move out. Is this legal. I did complain about the black mold,rats(no mice) ants,roached,carpet thats uncleanalbe,feels like gum is sticking to your feet all the times.Its a rat tack. I have been been trying to find a senior building,Lord the list is so long. I just want to feel clean.

  48. Christine Says:

    To the tenants,….Your lease is a legal binding contract. Pay your rent or move out! It is still a binding contract regardless of the million and one excuses for non-payment. Many landlords can work with a tenant if it a temporary situation and the tenant has had a good payment history.

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