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Tenant Law

Being Evicted? FIGHT BACK!

At the Mittelman Law Firm, we help tenants who may be facing evictions.

Our firm is located in Temecula, and we serve the Inland Empire, San Diego, Orange, and Los Angeles County areas. Contact an experienced Temecula Eviction Defense Attorney today for a free, confidential consultation.

Defending an Eviction Lawsuit

The key to the successful defense of an eviction lawsuit (called an unlawful detainer) is to act quickly.  A tenant hiring a lawyer as soon as she gets a Notice to Quit (a landlord’s eviction notice) has the advantage of having up to 60 days for her attorney to investigate the matter and try to settle the case.

Brief Overview of an Eviction Case:

1.  The first thing the landlord must do is give you notice to move out.  Depending on the circumstances, this can be a 3-, 30-, or 60-day notice.

2.  If you do not move out, the landlord must then file an Unlawful Detainer lawsuit (a “UD”) with the Court and serve a copy of the lawsuit on you.  If you are personally served (by someone putting the summons and complaint in your hand or giving it to someone at your leased premises, you will have only five (5) calendar days to respond to the lawsuit.  If you do not respond at the courthouse in time and in the proper written form, you can be evicted without ever being heard in court.

The response to a summons and complaint must be filed with the court. The response must be either a properly drafted pleading (legal document) or a properly completed form answer.  Do not make the mistake of sending a letter or making a phone call to your landlord or to his/her attorney….that will not be enough!

A tenant unfamiliar with this process can hurt his/her chance of winning the case.  By simply filling out a form answer at the court clerk’s office, a tenant may give up various defenses to the eviction lawsuit.  In addition, other responses such as a demurrer or a motion to strike may end the litigation or give the tenant’s attorney time to complete their investigation.

3.  Once the tenant’s attorney files the response to the complaint, the attorney can request written discovery (send questions and requests for documents to the landlord to be answered under penalty of perjury). The tenant’s attorney can also require the landlord to appear for a deposition (answer questions under oath) regarding the case. This helps the tenant’s lawyer prepare a defense to the eviction lawsuit.

A Tenant’s Rights

The tenant has a right to have the case heard by a judge, and if she wants, by a jury. Trial by jury means that ordinary people get to hear the tenant’s story and decide who wins. Many tenants feel this is better than just having a judge hear the case.

For more information about how I can help with your defense, call a Temecula Eviction Defense Attorney and Tenant’s Law office at the MITTELMAN LAW FIRM or contact us online. The initial consultation is free of charge.