Eviction cases in California

This guide includes information about:

The information is only for evictions from a home or apartment. Talk to a lawyer for help with commercial (business) evictions.

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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.

illustration of a posted paper form

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.


illustration of a signed paper form changing hands

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.

illustration of some paper forms with signature

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. 

illustration of a judges gavel

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.

A landlord can’t just

turn off the power or other utilities, lock a tenant out, or throw out their belongings to get their tenant to move out.  If they do, the landlord may have to pay the tenant a penalty.


Step-by-step instructions

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.

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