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Superior Court of California - County of San Diego: Civil: Landlord/Tenant: Landlord/Tenant FAQs: Landlord FAQs
          
Landlord - Frequently Asked Questions

1. What do I do before filing my complaint with the court?
2. How do I file an Unlawful Detainer complaint?
3. What are the filing fees?
4. Who is responsible for notifying the defendant of the complaint?
5. How do I get a court hearing?
6. What should I do if the other party fails to respond within the allowed number of days?
7. I won the judgement.  Now, how and when do I recover the money?
8. Statewide Self-Help Center


1. What do I do before filing my complaint with the court?

Before filing an Unlawful Detainer complaint, proper notification to the tenant is required. To find out what type of proper notice is required, click here.

Reminder:  Any notice given to the tenant must expire before the filing of your complaint. For information on when your notice expires, click here.


2. How do I file an Unlawful Detainer complaint?

Click here for information on how to file your complaint. You must fill out the Summons, Complaint and Civil Case Cover sheet forms and file them at the Civil Business Office. The court retains the original complaint, and a copy is served on each defendant along with a copy of the summons.

You may fill out Unlawful Detainer forms online by visiting www.turbocourt.com.

3. What are the filing fees?

Please refer to the current fee schedule for Unlawful Detainer fees.

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    4. Who is responsible for notifying the defendant of the complaint?

    It is the landlord's responsibility to make sure the tenant/defendant is notified about the lawsuit. The legal method of notification is known as "service of process," which means giving the defendant a copy of the summons and complaint. You cannot do this yourself. Here are some individuals who can serve the defendant:

    • A registered process server, or
    • Any person over the age of 18, not a party to the action

    Generally, there is a fee for this service.  To find out more about this topic, visit our Proof of Service page.


    5. How do I get a court hearing?

    If you are the plaintiff (landlord) and the tenant/defendant you are suing has filed a response with the court, you need to file a Request/Counter Request to Set Case for Trial - Unlawful Detainer (UD-150) to have the court set your case for trial.

    Note:  Before you can proceed to trial, all tenants/defendants must respond to the service of process.  If any of them fail to do so, see number 6, below.

    If any of the tenants/defendants should be dismissed from the case, complete and file a Request for Dismissal (CIV-110).

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    6. What should I do if the other party fails to respond within the allowed number of days?

    If the defendant has not answered the complaint within the allowed number of days, you may proceed to have a default judgment entered. If you wish to obtain possession of the premises as soon as possible, you should file the following forms with the court:

    The clerk will enter the judgment and issue the Writ of Execution with a fee.

    You must either take the Writ of Execution and Sheriff's Instructions for Process of Writ form to the Sheriff's Department with a fee for service, or the clerk can forward the documents to the Sheriff's Department.


    7. I won the judgement.  Now, how and when do I recover the money?

    For specific enforcement procedures see our How to Collect page.


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