Learn about Unlawful Detainer Actions (“UD”):
An unlawful detainer action affords landlords a speedy “summary eviction” remedy, which allows landlords regain lawful possession of their property. Indeed, it is virtually the fastest civil trial proceeding. The normal pretrial time periods applicable in civil actions generally are narrower in UD actions. UD actions are given precedence (in trial setting and trial) over all other civil actions except those also granted special precedence by law. Generally (so long as possession is in issue), trial must be held no later than the 20th day after a request for trial setting is made.
Unlawful detainer has also a narrow scope of proceeding. Apart from the shorter timeframes involved, unlawful detainer actions are necessarily expedited because of the limitations imposed on pleadings and issues that may be litigated. The only issue that can be reviewed by the court is recovery of possession and damages resulting from the unlawful detention. As a general rule, UD actions may not adjudicate questions of title. Indeed, the issues in unlawful detainer actions are so strictly limited that defendants cannot file cross-complaints.
Damages in Unlawful Detainer Actions
Damages are awardable in a UD action only to the limited extent authorized by statute. Specifically the damages sought must be directly related to the unlawful detention. All other damages arising out of the tenancy are recoverable only through an independent civil action (not a summary proceeding).
Basic Eviction Steps
These are the basic procedural steps to effect a lawful eviction by way of unlawful detainer: