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How to Stop an Eviction in California

Many evictions were on pause in the wake of COVID-19, but now that the pandemic is over, many tenants may face eviction. If you are in this situation, you may have questions about how to stop an eviction in California. Before you defy an eviction notice, it’s essential to understand your rights and obligations. 

An attorney can review your case and tell you if your landlord is following the proper procedure or if they are out of bounds. A lawyer can advise you on your options and represent you in an eviction lawsuit. 

Pakpour Banks LLP fights for clients throughout California to help them keep their houses and fight against evictions. We understand that it’s critical to have a stable place to stay and how scary it is when that is in jeopardy. Our team is prepared to listen to your concerns and determine the best course of action to maximize your rights. Contact us today to speak with an attorney!

How to Stop an Eviction in California

Having a landlord threatening to evict you can be difficult and cause you a lot of stress and anxiety. But you can take steps to protect yourself and your legal rights

Determine the Basis for the Eviction

First, you can find out why the landlord is evicting you. In most cases, your landlord cannot formally evict you from the premises without an order from the court that says you must leave. If your landlord threatens eviction, you may not have to leave the premises immediately, but it depends on the circumstances. For example, if they send you a notice that says you must pay rent or face eviction, you may be able to pay rent or work out an agreement to pay past-due rent before the landlord takes legal action. 

Try to Resolve the Issue with Your Landlord

Stopping a California eviction may be something best sorted out directly with your landlord. Read the eviction notice carefully (or any document your landlord has sent you about the potential eviction) to find out the reason for their decision. If the issue leading them to consider evicting you is something you think you can work out (like past-due rent or noise complaints), talk to your landlord. You may be able to understand their side of the issue and negotiate a solution that works for both parties. 

Talk to an Attorney

If you can’t work something out with your landlord, it may be time to talk to an attorney. An attorney can review your lease agreement and any communications you’ve received from your landlord to find out what is going on and what can be done to further your interest. A lawyer can also negotiate with your landlord to see if an out-of-court solution is possible. If not, they can advise you on the next steps to take. 

Participate in a Lawsuit

If your landlord is formally evicting you, they may have already filed a lawsuit against you to force you out of the rental unit. It’s essential to engage in these proceedings by filing the appropriate answer, which is where you indicate whether you think the claims your landlord made are true or false. You can also assert defenses to the eviction, such as if your landlord turns off the water, heat, or electricity to force you to leave. 

After you submit a response to your landlord’s legal complaint, the case may proceed to a trial. Even if you disagree with the landlord’s claims, it’s crucial to participate in the trial. If you don’t, you forfeit the opportunity to tell your side of the story, and the lawsuit may proceed without you having a say. At the end of the case, the judge will enter an order either pausing the eviction or allowing the landlord to go forward with the eviction. You or your attorney may be able to negotiate with the landlord in terms of a timeframe for when you need to vacate the premises. This can give you additional time to find a new place to stay and catch up on past rental payments if required. 

What Are Valid Reasons for an Eviction?

Valid reasons to evict a tenant include not paying rent, staying in the property past the end of the lease, and failing to follow essential lease terms. As with most things involving the law, there are exceptions to many of these reasons. To fully understand your legal rights, consider talking to an experienced California landlord-tenant lawyer

Failing to Pay Rent

Landlords may use a failure to keep up with rental payments as a basis to evict the tenant. But there are exceptions. For example, if the tenant could not pay rent during COVID-19, those rental payments may be exempt from this rule. This means that a landlord may be unable to evict a tenant because of failure to pay rent when the COVID-19 pandemic was in effect. As of the date of this post, the pause applies only to specific cases and is in effect until 2025, so it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer about what applies to your situation. 

Staying Past the End of the Lease

Another possible reason for an eviction is that the lease has ended, but the tenant is still on the premises. In legal terms, a renter in this situation is called a “holdover” tenant. In many cases, this is a breach of the lease, but there are exceptions. For example, if the tenant continues to pay rent and the landlord accepts the rental payments, the tenancy may switch to a month-to-month agreement. Again, speaking to an attorney is vital to make sure you understand your rights. 

Breaking Important Terms of the Lease

A landlord might also evict a tenant for breaking essential terms of the lease. For example, if the lease prevents the tenant from subleasing the property, but they do this anyway, it may constitute a violation that allows the landlord to start the eviction process. As in other circumstances, the specific language of the lease and the facts play an important role in what can happen and what cannot, legally speaking. 

Pakpour Banks: Trusted California Landlord-Tenant Lawyers

Facing an eviction can be a confusing and stressful situation. After all, having a roof over your head is a basic necessity and is essential for your health and safety. Keith Banks is a dedicated and experienced attorney who has received recognition for his commitment to serving his community, such as through pro bono services. If your landlord threatens to evict you, contact our team today for legal help.

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Brian enters the family law profession with a refreshing approach to these proceedings: heal families; don’t destroy them. In some cases, this means the family is going to look different than it did before. In other cases, this means a new family is created where there was none before. Either way, individuals should leave family court knowing their voices were heard, and with healthy attitudes about themselves and those they love.

Read More Legal Blogs By Brian Pakpour

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