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Understanding Wrongful Eviction in California

If you have been evicted from your rental home in a way that violates local or state tenant laws, you may file a lawsuit against your landlord for wrongful eviction. However, you need to have an in-depth understanding of the legal process and the law in order to prove that the actions of your landlord were illegal and you suffered damages for which you should be compensated. The best way to ensure that your wrongful eviction case is presented in the best possible light is to work with an experienced San Francisco tenant lawyer.

California Eviction Laws and Procedures

Landlords can evict their tenants for a number of reasons, such as violation of rental agreement, not paying rent, and others. However, there are several local and state laws in place that prohibit a landlord from evicting their tenants without following a proper procedure.

In California, a landlord has to file an eviction lawsuit against the tenant with the court and obtain a court order to legally carry out the eviction process. However, before they can file a lawsuit, they must serve a notice indicating the reason for eviction. The landlord is required to follow specific rules and procedures as to when and how the notice should be served to the tenant. Prohibitions against self-help evictions have been codified in Cal. Civ. Code § 789.3.

For example, if a tenant lodges a complaint about code violations, a landlord cannot evict the tenant without a presumption of retaliation and hence a wrongful eviction.

It is important that landlords do not engage in illegal self-help evictions, such as changing the locks, replacing the front door, cutting off utilities, or taking the tenant’s belongings. A majority of the California tenant and eviction laws are detailed and complex. So if a landlord violates the law deliberately or does not follow the procedure by the book, an eviction will likely be considered illegal.

Damages for Wrongful Eviction

A tenant who has been a victim of wrongful eviction can file a lawsuit against the landlord and receive compensation for certain damages, including:

  • Statutory Damages: Depending on your particular situation, they may be calculated per day or per violation. Many local rent ordinances provide for trebled (triple) damages.
  • Actual Damages: These can temporary housing costs or increased rent if the tenant has been displaced and forced to incur additional costs. Pain, suffering, and inconvenience can be included.
  • Other Expenses: Court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees if you hire an attorney to represent you.

Eviction matters are often complex and contentious, and should be handled by an attorney who has an in-depth understanding of the local and state laws. If you want to get more information about wrongful eviction, please contact our office today at 415-835-6777 to schedule a free consultation.

Wrongful Eviction Lawyer