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Other Occupants

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If you are an "Unnamed Occupant" and the landlord wants to evict you:


Normally, a landlord will have a written rental agreement or lease with a tenant and know his or her name. However, sometimes a known tenant allows other adults to live with him or her, and the landlord doesn't know the names of these people.

If you are an "unnamed occupant" in an eviction lawsuit, and the landlord wins the unlawful detainer case, a sheriff cannot lawfully evict you if your name does not appear on the writ of possession. Opens new window  The landlord can take steps to avoid this result.

If the landlord DID take steps to evict you:


When the "Summons" and "Complaint" are served on the named defendants, the landlord can instruct the process server to ask whether there are other occupants living in the unit who have not been named as defendants. If there are, the process server can serve you with a blank Prejudgment Claim of Right to Possession form and a copy of the "Summons" and the "Complaint."  (See California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 415.46Opens new window

If you have been served with these three documents, you have 10 days to complete the Prejudgment Claim of Right to Possession form and file it with the Clerk of Court.

There are fees for filing documents with the court. For more information, click here.

IMPORTANT: Any unnamed occupant who does not file a Prejudgment Claim of Right to Possession form with the Clerk of Court (along with the filing fee or a request for waiver of the fee) can then be evicted.

NOTE:  When you file the Prejudgment Claim of Right to Possession form, you automatically become a defendant in the unlawful detainer lawsuit, and must file an "Answer" to the landlord's "Complaint" within 5 days after filing the form.

The court will then rule on your defense to the eviction along with the defenses of the other defendants. (See California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 1174.25) Opens new window

If the landlord wins, you cannot delay the eviction, whether or not you are named in the "writ of possession" issued by the court. (See California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 415.46) Opens new window

If the landlord DID NOT take steps to evict you:


Sometimes, the landlord does not have a "Prejudgment Claim of Right to Possession" form served on the unnamed occupants when the unlawful detainer complaint is served.

If this is the case, when the sheriff arrives to enforce the "writ of possession" (that is, to evict the tenants) an occupant whose name does not appear on the writ of possession, and who claims a right of possession, may fill out a "Claim of Right to Possession" form and give it to the sheriff. The sheriff must then stop the eviction of that occupant, and must give the occupant a copy of the completed form or a receipt for it. (See California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 1174.3) Opens new window

If you, the "Unnamed Occupant", gave the sheriff a "Claim of Right to Possession" form:


If you gave the sheriff a completed "Claim of Right to Possession" form, you have only two (2) business days to pay the court's filing fees (or to file a request for waiver of the fee) at the clerk's office.

You also should deliver to the court an amount equal to 15 days' rent for the rental unit (the "writ of possession" must state the daily rental value of the rental unit).

5 to 15 days after you've paid the filing fee and deposited an amount equal to 15 days' rent, the court will hold a hearing.

  • If you don't deposit the 15 days' rent, the court will hold the hearing within 5 days.

At the hearing, the court will decide whether or not you have a valid claim to possession.

  • If the court decides that your claim to possession is valid, the amount of rent deposited will be returned to you. The court will then order further proceedings, as appropriate to the case (for example, the occupant may be given five days to answer the landlord's complaint).

If the court finds that your claim to possession is not valid, an amount equal to the daily rent for each day the eviction was delayed will be subtracted from the rent that is returned to you, and the sheriff or marshal will continue with the eviction. (See California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 1174.3) Opens new window

To view some short videos with general information about how California's court system works, click here. Opens new window

 

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