Facing eviction can be a stressful process. It is important to be informed about your rights and what eviction entails. The following is the general process.
If your landlord has not received your rent by the agreed-upon date, often you will receive a three-day notice. It is important at this point to take action. We recommend speaking to your landlord about your particular situation to determine if he or she will compromise to accept late rent ( if you can now afford it) or to otherwise come up with a plan. Oftentimes landlords simply want to know when you will be able to pay the rent and are willing to work with you.
If you do not pay your rent after the three-day notice, and your landlord is not willing to work with you, your landlord can file a lawsuit against you called an Unlawful Detainer. This means your landlord is suing to have you evicted. You now have five days to file a written answer with the court. There are no exceptions made and you must file the answer in order to be given a trial date. We recommend contacting a lawyer or a local legal-aid organization right away. Please see resources below.
Once you file a written answer with the court, you will be given a trial date. At the trial, you will explain your case to the judge, and the judge will make a determination regarding your eviction. If eviction is determined, your landlord cannot lock you out, change locks, cut off utility services, or use any other forms of harassment to make you move out. Only a Sheriff can evict you. The Sheriff will post a five-day notice on your door. If you do not move out within five days, the Sheriff will return and force you to move out.
The Actors Fund stresses the effectiveness of communication with your landlord at the earliest stages of the process. Oftentimes, landlords are happy to work with you to avoid eviction and simply want to be kept informed.
Below is a list of legal resources that can assist you with support surrounding preventing eviction and upholding your rights as tenants.
Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA)
LACBA offers free referrals to attorneys and free 30-minute consultation for individuals at all levels of income.
Bet Tzedek Legal Services
Bet Tzedek, which means The House of Justice, is a free legal service organization that provides assistance to individuals of all races, ethnicities, and religions. Offices are located in the Fairfax and Mid-Wilshire areas and in North Hollywood. They serve LA County, including the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys.
Legal appointments: 323-939-0506
Valley office: 818-769-0136
Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County
This organization, which has offices in Pacoima, El Monte, and Glendale offers free legal assistance to low-income individuals.
www.nls-la.org Toll Free: 1-800-433-6251
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
This organization provides emergency assistance with landlord-tenant issues. Also, the Eviction Defense Center will provide free legal assistance with some legal representation and help with filling out paperwork.
www.lafla.org Toll Free: 1-800-399-4529
The Free Legal Advice Clinic at FAME Church
This free legal clinic sponsored by UCLA Law School, Temple Isaiah, Public Counsel, and FAME Church of Los Angeles occurs every other Sunday from 10:00am-12:30pm. A one-time consultation on housing concerns is provided.
Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center
This organization provides individual consultation around tenant/landlord issues. Call for an appointment.
Los Angeles Housing Law Project
This organization provides income-based legal assistance ($80-$180). The staff will prepare and answer motions and/or respond to lock-outs or utility shut-offs.
www.lahlp.org 213- 613-2760
Click here for our interactive Bulletin Board where you can post available housing opportunities or search for them if you need to find a place to live.
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