Real estate attorney Leo B. Siegel discusses the eviction process and when a trial is necessary for an eviction.
Is a trial necessary to evict a tenant in California?
If the tenant does file a written response to the unlawful detainer summons and complaint within the required 5 days, then a trial is necessary to remove the tenant from the property.
The owner or his or her attorney applies to the court for a trial date. The trial date is assigned during the next, oh, probably 10 days. The trial will be 10 days after that, 10 to 15 days after that. The court must set the trial date within 20 days after the request is filed, by law.
You show up for the trial. The trials usually take 15-20 minutes. More often than not, unlawful detainer cases settle in the hallway before the trial begins. The settlement usually involves giving the tenant additional time to vacate the property on a date certain.
There are advantages to settling for both parties. The advantages to the owner are that he gets possession back on a date certain without having to take the risk of going to trial and also if the settlement agreement is properly prepared the tenant will be waiving any rights to what is called a stay of execution which would extend their stay in the property after the date of the trial.
The advantages to the tenant, the occupant, are that the unlawful detainer case, the eviction case, is dismissed when they vacate the property if they perform in a timely fashion. Unlawful detainer cases are masked from public view when they are first filed. That is, no future landlords or subsequent landlords would even know that the tenant was being subjected to an eviction. Because, if they did know that, they would not be very excited about renting property to someone who is already getting evicted, they are a bad risk.
If the tenant settles the unlawful detainer case, usually in the hallway before the trial starts, or before if it settles the unlawful detainer case stays masked. No future landlord would ever see that tenant had been subject to an eviction.
If the tenant does not settle and goes through trial and gets a judgment for possession entered against them the masking order is lifted. Future landlords would then have access to public records that show that that person has been evicted before.
About: Leo B. Siegel is a real estate attorney with 34 years of experience handling landlord/tenant issues, evictions, co-ownership disputes, contract disputes, fraud, title issues, easements, and boundary disputes.
Leo may be contacted at (831) 768-9110 or https://www.legalsiegel.org.