We represent Landlords, Commercial Real Estate managers and REO managers in unlawful detainer actions (evictions) in residential and commercial settings. We can handle your case from start to finish and will provide you with the quickest and most efficient resolution under the circumstances of your case. We also provide ancillary services such as obtaining a money judgment for damages and unpaid rent or representing you in a bankruptcy court to obtain relief from stay if tenant files a bankruptcy petition.
We are licensed California attorneys serving the Greater Los Angeles area, and we provide the highest level of competence in handling your case. When contracting our services, you can be sure that your case is handled and supervised directly by an attorney knowledgeable of your file and its status and privy to the legal issues present therein. Our client-oriented approach strives to provide superb customer service, while keeping you informed throughout the duration of the entire case.
We know how important it is to quickly restore possession of the property to its rightful owner, and through our expertise, we can help you obtain your goals.
In order to start your eviction, please contact us immediately and provide us with a brief description of your case and request our retainer agreement.
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Learn about Unlawful Detainer Actions (“UD”):
An unlawful detainer action affords landlords a speedy “summary eviction” remedy, which allows landlords regain lawful possession of their property. Indeed, it is virtually the fastest civil trial proceeding. The normal pretrial time periods applicable in civil actions generally are narrower in UD actions. UD actions are given precedence (in trial setting and trial) over all other civil actions except those also granted special precedence by law. Generally (so long as possession is in issue), trial must be held no later than the 20th day after a request for trial setting is made.
Unlawful detainer has also a narrow scope of proceeding. Apart from the shorter timeframes involved, unlawful detainer actions are necessarily expedited because of the limitations imposed on pleadings and issues that may be litigated. The only issue that can be reviewed by the court is recovery of possession and damages resulting from the unlawful detention. As a general rule, UD actions may not adjudicate questions of title. Indeed, the issues in unlawful detainer actions are so strictly limited that defendants cannot file cross-complaints.
Damages in Unlawful Detainer Actions
Damages are awardable in a UD action only to the limited extent authorized by statute. Specifically the damages sought must be directly related to the unlawful detention. All other damages arising out of the tenancy are recoverable only through an independent civil action (not a summary proceeding).
Basic Eviction Steps
These are the basic procedural steps to effect a lawful eviction by way of unlawful detainer:
- Notice of termination (unless ground for eviction is expiration of a fixed-term tenancy).
- Filing and service of the unlawful detainer complaint.
- (Optional) Service of “prejudgment claim of right to possession” form, attached to a copy of the UD summons and complaint, on unnamed occupants.
- Defendant response (or default).
- Request for trial setting.
- Trial and judgment for possession.
- Issuance of writ of possession
- Actual eviction and lockout pursuant to writ of possession.
Tenant can file a bankruptcy petition before or during the eviction process. Under the Federal Law, the filing of a bankruptcy petition normally triggers an automatic stay wherein all enforcement procedures against the debtor must cease and any prosecution of civil process must stop immediately. Generally, neither the Sheriff nor Landlord may continue with the eviction process without first obtaining permission from the U. S. Bankruptcy Court. If a tenant files for bankruptcy prior to the filing of a UD action, the landlord cannot serve a three-day notice to terminate (for nonpayment of rent or other breach of lease) and commence an unlawful detainer against the tenant. Thus, unless the court grants relief from the stay, the landlord is usually stunted. We know how to apply for, and obtain, the necessary relief from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court granting us the right to proceed with eviction despite the bankruptcy filing.
A tenant in bankruptcy whose unexpired lease has been rejected (or deemed rejected) by the bankruptcy trustee (or debtor in possession) can be compelled to surrender the premises and evicted pursuant to bankruptcy court order under federal bankruptcy law. In this situation (at least in the Ninth Circuit), state unlawful detainer remedies and procedures are superseded.
Rent Control Issues
Residential landlords in rent control jurisdictions should be particularly careful conducting evictions and should never do so without help of the experienced counsel. This is because in rent control jurisdictions, some form of “eviction control” usually restricts the grounds upon which tenancies may be terminated. Further, the applicable statutory and ordinance notice requirements should be followed strictly. Unjustified eviction action in a rent control jurisdiction is particularly risky because it is likely to draw a “wrongful eviction” damages suit under state or local law.