New Changes to Response Times for Unlawful Detainer Actions

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In California, when a landlord wants a tenant to vacate their leased premises, a landlord may have to have court involvement and file an unlawful detainer (“UD”) action to have the tenant removed.  A UD action can be initiated for a variety of things, but the most common actions stem from the tenant failing to follow a provision of their lease.

Before the court is involved however, the landlord must provide the tenant with notice to cure the lease provision or vacate the leased premises, referred to as a Three-Day Notice to Pay or Quit. If the tenant fails either cure or vacate the premises, the landlord can then initiate a UD action in court. Once the action is filed, the landlord must provide the tenant with notice and summons of the action giving the tenant the opportunity to respond within a specified time frame.

Previously, a tenant had three calendar days to cure the breach or vacate and five calendar days following service of summons to respond to a UD action.  Pursuant to a change in the law which took effect September 1, 2019, Sections 1161 and 1167 of the California Code of Civil Procedure provided tenants with more time to cure or vacate as well as respond to the UD action. The 3-day and 5-day response periods in a UD action shall now exclude Saturdays, Sundays, and other judicially observed holidays.

How this would work is if a tenant receives a Three-day Notice to Pay or Quit on the Friday before a long holiday weekend, they will not have to pay rent until Thursday (if Monday was the holiday) and the unlawful detainer action will not be able to be filed until the following Friday.  If the action is filed and the tenant is properly served the summons, complaint and other documents on a Friday, the tenant must respond five court days after completion of service on the next Friday (assuming no holidays during that week) and the tenant’s default will not be taken until the following Monday, or Tuesday if it is judicial holiday.

It is crucial that landlords be aware of the new extended time periods to prefect their UD action. In the event that you are needing to evict a tenant or have questions concerning the process, please call the Dias Law Firm, Inc and allow us to help!

By: Jonette M. Montgomery, Esq.






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