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

1. What should I do if I am served with a summons and Unlawful Detainer complaint?
2. What if I live at the property but my name is not listed on the official Summons and Complaint?
3. How do I get a court hearing?
4. How do I get ready for trial?
5. Is there anything I can do if I lose at trial?
6. What happens if the landlord wins at trial?
7. How can the tenant stop or delay the eviction?
8. If there is an eviction on my credit report, how can I remove it?
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1. What should I do if I am served with a summons and Unlawful Detainer complaint?

2. What if I live at the property but my name is not listed on the official Summons and Complaint?

  • You do not have to be involved in the lawsuit if you do not want to. And, this case will not affect your credit. However, if the landlord wins, the Sheriff will evict all person residing in the rental unit whether or not their name was on the summons and complaint.

  • If you want to join the lawsuit, you have the right to do so. Fill out the Prejudgment Claim of Right to Possession (CP10.5), that was attached to the court papers you received. Then file it at the courthouse within 10 days. You must also file an Answer - Unlawful Detainer (UD-105) within 5 days of filing the Prejudgment Claim of Right to Possession form.
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    3. How do I get a court hearing?

    If you are being sued, you must file a responsive pleading to the lawsuit.  You will then be noticed by mail of the trial date.  If you do not respond, a Default Judgment may be issued against you and your eviction may proceed.

    Legal forms to respond are available in the Civil Business Office for a nominal fee or from the following websites:

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    4. How do I get ready for trial?

    Get all the information related to your case. If possible, bring your original documents. This may include the following papers:

    • The lease or rental agreement
    • The Notice served on the tenant
    • The letter (s) your wrote or received about the rental unit.
    • Photos that show damage to the unit, if applicable
    • Photos that show unsafe or unhealthy conditions, if applicable
    • Building inspection reports, if applicable
    You may also bring witnesses who have personal knowledge of the facts.

    5. Is there anything I can do if I lose at trial?

    You can appeal or you can file a motion to set aside (cancel) the judge's order. There are strict deadlines to do this, and you need a legally valid reason to do it. You should talk to a lawyer if you want to pursue either of these options.

     Note:  An appeal or a motion to set aside will not stop the eviction. The only way for a tenant to stop or delay the eviction is to ask for a Stay of Execution.

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    6. What happens if the landlord wins at trial?

    The judge or jury may decide the landlord has the right to evict the tenant. If so, the judge will give the landlord a Judgment of Possession. The judge or jury may also order the tenant to pay back rent, damages and costs, such as filing fees and attorney fees (if specified in the rental agreement).

    The Sheriff will serve the tenant with a Notice to Vacate the property. This gives the tenant 5 days to vacate the property.  If the tenant does not vacate the property, the Sheriff will remove the tenant from the rental unit and lock him/her out.

    7. How can the tenant stop or delay the eviction?

    If the tenant loses the case, but needs more time to move out, he or she can first try to talk to the landlord to see if he or she agrees to let the tenant stay a little longer.

    If the landlord does not let the tenant stay longer, the tenant may file a Request for a Stay of Eviction ("Stay") and set an ex parte hearing. If the judge lets the tenant stay longer, the tenant may have to pay the rent for that period of time. The amount of time the tenant can stay will depend on the case.

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    8. If there is an eviction on my credit report, how can I get it off?

    • The court cannot clear your credit.
    • It is your responsibility to contact the credit reporting agencies for their requirements.

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