Tenant Responses to a Three-Day Notice
A tenant could respond to the three-day notice in a variety of different ways.
The tenant could pay the rent within three days of receiving the notice. If the tenant chooses this do this, the landlord must not proceed with the eviction.
The tenant could move out of the rental unit within three days of receiving the notice. If the tenant does not pay rent, the landlord can use the security deposit to cover the rent charges and sue the tenant for any unpaid amounts of rent.
The tenant could choose to not pay rent or move out of the rental unit. In this case, the landlord can proceed with the eviction at the end of the three-day period.
Evicting the Tenant
A landlord must go to court and win an eviction lawsuit in order to evict a tenant. To start the eviction lawsuit, also called an unlawful detainer lawsuit, the landlord must file a summons and complaint with the superior court of the county or district in which the rental unit is located. The court will set a date for a hearing before a judge, and the tenant will be notified of the upcoming lawsuit. If the landlord is successful at the hearing, the judge will give the landlord a writ of possession. This writ of possession gives the sheriff the authority to evict the tenant. The landlord must use the sheriff to evict the tenant.
It is unlawful for a landlord to attempt to evict a tenant without having a writ of possession and having the sheriff present. The landlord cannot force a tenant out of a rental unit through such means as changing the locks on the doors or shutting off the utilities to the rental unit. If a landlord attempts to do this, the tenant can sue the landlord for damages. For more information on illegal eviction practices, see the Nolo article Illegal Eviction Procedures in California.
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