Landlord/Tenant Law

Landlord/Tenant Law

We are experienced in all aspects of landlord/tenant law, representing both property owners and tenants. In cases where there is a dispute over whether a tenant has complied with the lease terms, we can help either party understand their legal options and take appropriate action.

One possibility for landlords may be to bring an unlawful detainer action, seeking eviction of the tenant. Many tenants and landlords surprisingly find themselves in an unlawful detainer action when a dispute escalates rapidly. If you are involved in a disagreement about rent or some other issue, we can help you regardless of which side you are on.

Real estate law is extraordinarily complex and involves many arcane procedures. The stakes are typically high for all parties involved in a commercial or residential transaction. To get a knowledgeable, attentive attorney working on your side, contact us today.

At Soliman Law Group, PC we represent both landlords and tenants. This gives our offices a well-rounded knowledge base of all the legal issues that may arise in unlawful detainer cases.

Soliman Law Group, PC can also handle your commercial landlord tenant law issues!

Below is some basic information about the eviction proves and rights of each of the parties. 

A landlord can terminate (end) a month-to-month tenancy simply by giving the tenant 30 or 60
days’ advance written notice. However, the landlord can terminate the tenancy by giving the tenant only three days’ advance written notice if the tenant has done any of the following:

  • Failed to pay the rent.
  • Violated any provision of the lease or rental agreement.
  • Materially damaged the rental property (“committed waste”).
  • Substantially interfered with other tenants (“committed a nuisance”).
  • Committed domestic violence or sexual assault against, or stalked another tenant or
    subtenant on the premises.
  • Used the rental property for an unlawful purpose.
  • Engaged in drug dealing, unlawfully used, cultivated, imported, or manufactured
    illegal drugs.
  • Unlawful conduct involving weapons or ammunition.

A landlord’s three-day, 30-day, or 60-day notice to a tenant must be “served” properly to be legally effective. The terms “serve” and “service” refer to procedures required by the law. These procedures are designed to increase the likelihood that the person to whom notice is given actually receives the notice.

Overview of the eviction process

If the tenant doesn’t voluntarily move out after the landlord has properly given the required
notice to the tenant, the landlord can evict the tenant. In order to evict the tenant, the landlord must file an unlawful detainer lawsuit in superior court.  In an eviction lawsuit, the landlord is called the “plaintiff” and the tenant is called the “defendant.”  An unlawful detainer lawsuit is a “summary” court procedure. This means that the court action moves forward very quickly, and that the time given the tenant to respond during the lawsuit is very short.  For example, in most cases, the tenant has only five days to file a written response to the lawsuit after being served with a copy of the landlord’s summons and complaint. Normally, a judge will hear and decide the case within 20 days after the tenant or the landlord files a request to set the case for trial. If the court decides in favor of the landlord, the court will issue a writ of possession. The writ of possession orders the sheriff to remove the tenant from the rental unit, but gives the tenant five days from the date that the writ is served to leave voluntarily. If the tenant does not leave by the end of the fifth day, the writ of possession authorizes the sheriff to physically remove and lock the tenant out, and seize (take) the tenant’s belongings that have been left in the rental unit. The landlord is not entitled to possession of the rental unit until after the sheriff has removed the tenant.

Eviction of “unnamed occupants”

Sometimes, people who are not parties to the rental agreement or lease move into the rental unit with the tenant or after the tenant leaves, but before the unlawful detainer lawsuit is filed. When a landlord thinks that these “occupants” might claim a legal right to possess the rental unit, the landlord may seek to include them as defendants in the eviction action, even if the landlord doesn’t know who they are. In this case, the landlord will tell the process server to serve the occupants with a Prejudgment Claim of Right to Possession form at the same time that the eviction summons and complaint are served on the tenants who are named defendants.

A word about bankruptcy

Some tenants think that filing a bankruptcy petition will prevent them from being evicted. This is not always true.

Filing bankruptcy is a serious decision with many long-term consequences beyond the eviction action. In addition, much of what the public knows about bankruptcy has been changed by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.  A tenant who is thinking about filing bankruptcy because of the threat of eviction, or for any reason, should consult our bankruptcy attorney before doing so on their own.

Contact Soliman Law Group if you have any questions or concerns about your landlord tenant issues.