I'm a California landlord with a troublesome tenant. I've given the tenant a 3-day notice, but he still won't leave. What next? What is the California eviction process?
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If you have already served the tenant with any one of the notices mentioned above and, despite all of your efforts the tenant still will not leave, you may file an unlawful detainer action against the tenant to remove him/her. The unlawful detainer action is simply a lawsuit. You, the landlord, may file the necessary papers in Superior Court once the notice period has ended. Note that you may NOT evict a tenant without filing and unlawful detainer action and going through the process. See Self-Help Evictions in California. Once filed, the tenant is given an opportunity to file a response with the court. If the tenant files a response, the landlord may set the case for trial. Both you and the tenant are entitled to request a jury trial, but you will have to pay the jury fees (as of May 2010, $150). The jury (or judge if there is no jury) will ultimately decide whether or not to grant the landlord possession of the rental property plus any costs, fees, back rent, etc., if any. If the landlord wins, he/she may have the sheriff remove and/or lock the tenant out of the rental. If at any time you think you are in over your head, you can always seek the advice and counsel of a California evictions attorney.