Eviction: If you aren't on the lease or rental agreement

The landlord can include you in an eviction (unlawful detainer) court case even if your name is not on the lease or rental agreement. In this case, you have some options for how to respond.

If the landlord knows your name

If the landlord knows your name, they can put your name on the Notice they give tenants before they start an eviction (unlawful detainer) court case. Then, if they do start an eviction court case, they can list you in the Summons and Complaint.

You'll follow the same process as someone named on the lease.

Overview of the eviction process for tenants

If the landlord doesn't know your name

If the landlord doesn't know your name, you won't be listed on the eviction court papers, the Summons and Complaint forms. If you want to be part of the eviction court case, you may be able to file a court form to become part of the case.

Which form you use depends on if the case is just starting or at the end after a landlord has a court order that lets the sheriff evict the other tenants.

 

If the landlord doesn't know your name, they can have the sheriff, marshal, or registered process server give you: 

  • Eviction Summons and Complaint forms without your name on them
  • Prejudgment Claim of Right to Possession (form CP10.5
If you're being evicted because your landlord lost their home in a foreclosure, the 10-day deadline doesn't apply to you. You can file a Prejudgment Claim at any time before there's a Judgment in the case. Talk to a lawyer because you have other rights.

Some things to think about before you file the Prejudgment Claim 

You can only add yourself to the case if you lived in the house before the landlord filed the Summons and Complaint and you still live there.

  • If you add yourself to the case and think there's a legal reason you shouldn't be evicted you can file an Answer form and go to court to defend yourself. 
  • If you add yourself to the case and lose, the eviction will show up on your credit record
  • If you don't add yourself to the case and move out, the eviction never shows up on your credit record
  • If you don't add yourself to the case and don’t move out, you can be evicted without any more notices or a court hearing because you’re not part of the court case

File the Prejudgment Claim if you want to add yourself to the case

  • You have 10 days from the "Date of Service" on the Prejudgment Claim to file it with the court. 
  • Pay a filing fee or ask for a fee waiver

Filing the Prejudgment Claim adds you to the eviction case. Once you file the Prejudgment Claim, you have 5 days (not including court holidays) to file an Answer.

If the landlord won the eviction case and the sheriff puts a Writ of Possession form on the door and your name isn't on it, you may have the right to fight the eviction. You can do this as long as:

  • Your name is not on the eviction Writ of Possession attached to the Claim of Right to Possession and Notice of Hearing
  • You lived at the home where the eviction is happening before the Summons and Complaint forms were filed (find that date on the front of the Writ of Possession).
  • You still live at the home
  • You were not already served with Summons and Complaint forms that had a Prejudgment Claim of Right to Possession (form CP10.5) attached to them

If you're being evicted because your landlord lost their home in foreclosure:

  • You can file a Claim of Right of Possession even if you were already given a Prejudgment Claim
  • You can file a Claim of Right of Possession at any time, even when the sheriff returns to evict you

Talk to a lawyer about other rights you have.

Some things to think about before you file a Claim of Right to Possession 

  • If you ask to add yourself to the case, the judge agrees, and think there's a legal reason you shouldn't be evicted you will file an Answer form and have the chance to fight the eviction in court.
  • If you ask to add yourself to the case to fight the eviction and lose, you'll have an eviction on your credit record.
  • If you don't ask to add yourself to the case and move out, the eviction never shows up on your credit record
  • If you don't ask to add yourself to the case and don’t move out, you can be evicted without any more notices or a court hearing because you’re not part of the court case

If you want to fight the eviction, file a Claim of Right to Possession

If you think there’s a legal reason you shouldn’t be evicted

  • Fill out the Claim of Right to Possession and Notice of Hearing (form CP10), make a copy, and deliver it to the sheriff 
  • Then, within 2 days (not including the weekend or court holidays), file a copy with the court and pay a filing fee or ask for a fee waiver

You'll get a court date. At the court date, a judge will decide if you can be added to the case.

If you don't file a Claim of Right to Possession form

  • If you move out without filing the Claim of Right to Possession and Notice of Hearing, the eviction never shows up on your record
  • If you don’t file the Claim of Right to Possession and Notice of Hearing with the court, you can be evicted without any more notices or a court hearing because you’re not part of the court case

If you ask to be added to the eviction case and lose, 

the eviction judgment can be part of the court record for up to 7 years. It can also hurt your credit rating. If you don't get added to the case, your name won't be on the eviction record but you will need to move out if the sheriff posts a Notice to Vacate at your home.