Summons Unlawful Detainer: The Best Defense

CA Summons Unlawful Detainer

Being a good landlord requires knowing what to do with bad tenants.  Before you start managing any kind of rental space, you should make yourself familiar with the state landlord tenant law.  If you are a landlord in California, one form you will want to be aware of is the SUM.130, or the California Summons Unlawful Detainer Form.

‘Retaliation’ describes a situation in which a landlord creates conditions that are uncomfortable for tenants in order to cause them to willingly abandon their rental contracts. That, generally speaking, is a big no-no.  In most states a landlord can’t evict a tenant, raise the rent or change the terms of tenancy simply because a tenant has complained about conditions.   In California it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against a tenant who has exercised a legal right to complain about unsafe living conditions, joined or organized a tenant union, or withheld rent.

However, if you have a tenant who is behind on the rent, violating the terms of the lease, or becoming a public nuisance, you may start a legal process of eviction.  This process begins with serving the tenant with a written notice which will vary depending on the type of offense (for more on this see the California Courts self help guide for landlords).  Once that period of the notice is up (start counting the day after it is served), you may begin your unlawful detainer case.

To start the unlawful detainer case, fill out 3 forms including a Summons Unlawful Detainer Eviction (Form Sum-130), a Complaint Form UD-100, and a Civil Case Cover Sheet Form (CM-010).  Make 2 copies of the Summons and the Complaint, get them stamped at the Courthouse, and keep the extra copies – one for you and the other for your tenant. You must serve your tenant with the unlawful detainer papers in person and then file a Proof of Service Summons Form (POS-010).  Then you have to wait…

If the tenant does not respond, you may ask for a default judgement, in which case you can proceed with the eviction and potentially take back monies owed from a paycheck or bank account.  If the tenant does respond by filing an Answer for the Unlawful Detainer, you may then move on to a trial stage.  For more about that, again see the California Courts Self-Help page).

For more assistance with your CA summons form, you may want to talk to a lawyer to look over your forms.  This is particularly true in the case of foreclosed properties or if there are other occupants in the rental unit.  For now, click here to get started filling out your CA unlawful detainer form with PDFfiller.  And remember the old saying, “the best defense is a good offense!”