Eviction cases in California
This guide includes information about:
- COVID-19 eviction protections
- Landlords: Starting an eviction case (an unlawful detainer court case)
- Tenants: Understanding your options if you get a Notice to Quit or Summons and Complaint
The information is only for evictions from a home or apartment. Talk to a lawyer for help with commercial (business) evictions.
Find out about legal and housing resources, including California's COVID-19 Rent Relief Program.
Eviction protections for unpaid rent during COVID
Starting October 1, 2021, new laws
- Protect some tenants from evictions for COVID-19 rental debt (unpaid rent or other money due under a rental agreement, like parking fees, that came due between March 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021)
- Require landlords to take extra steps, like apply for rental assistance, before they can start an eviction (unlawful detainer) case for unpaid rent
- Allow a tenant to ask to stop an eviction (unlawful detainer) case based on unpaid rent if they are approved for government rental assistance
Get more information about these laws if you're a tenant and owe past due rent or you are a landlord and your tenant owes rent.
How the eviction process works
This is a summary of the eviction process. A landlord must meet many legal requirements before they can ask for a court order that says their tenant must move out. There are step-by-step instructions at the bottom of this page with more details.
The landlord gives the tenant a written Notice to do something by a deadline
For example, a Notice might say to fix a problem or move out by a certain date. The deadlines can be very short, like 3 days, or months.
The Landlord starts an eviction case in court
If the tenant doesn't do what the Notice says by the deadline, the landlord can file an eviction case (called an unlawful detainer). The landlord must have a copy of the court papers delivered (served) to the tenant.
The tenant has a few days to file a response in court
If the tenant doesn't respond by the deadline, the landlord can file papers asking a judge to decide the case without their input. If the tenant does respond, either side can ask for a trial where a judge or jury will decide.
The judge makes a decision
If the landlord wins, they can ask the judge for papers that tell the sheriff to evict the tenants. The sheriff will post a Notice to Vacate and the tenant has time to move out.
Select one of the options below to get specific instructions and information for landlords or tenants for residential evictions: eviction from a home, duplex, condo, apartment, or room.
For information about commercial (business), mobile home/RV, hotel/motel, transitional housing, animal, boat, or other non-residential evictions please get legal help.