10-Step Eviction Process

Step 1: Serve a Notice

A notice is prepared and served to your tenant(s). For example, a  3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit or a 30-Day Notice to Terminate  Tenancy.  Read more information about other Types of Notices that can be served.

This is where you can begin a working relationship with our office. Our office staff prepares a formal notice, then our registered process server delivers it to the tenant.

Step 2: The Notice Expires

The time period stated in the notice that was served in Step 1 has  ended, and your tenant did not take the appropriate action that was  demanded in the notice. For Example, if a 3-Day Notice for Nonpayment of  Rent was issued and the tenant didn’t pay the rent, or if a 30-Day  Notice to Terminate Tenancy was issued and the tenant didn’t move out,  then we can move on to Step 3 and Start the Eviction (aka file the Unlawful Detainer lawsuit).

If your tenant DID take the appropriate action (i.e. paid the rent,  vacated, etc.), then we cannot start the eviction, and your case ends  here.

If you prepared and served your own notice, and you would like us to review it for you, please email it with a copy of your lease

Step 3: File the Eviction Lawsuit

A lawsuit (also known as an Unlawful Detainer or an Eviction), is  filed with the court in the appropriate county and jurisdiction and  given to our registered process server to service all adults in  possession of the property.

Step 4: The Lawsuit is Served

The Unlawful Detainer (also known as Eviction) lawsuit is served to  all the adults who live in the property. Depending on the number of  adults who are being evicted and the method in which each of the adults  were served, they will have between 5 and 15 days to contest the lawsuit  (also known as Filing an Answer in court).

What happens if they do contest the lawsuit (or file an answer)?

Step 5A: The Lawsuit is Contested (aka the tenant filed an answer and trial will be held)


In approximately 25% of our cases, tenant(s) “contest” the Eviction  lawsuit that was filed against them. If your tenant(s) “contest” your  lawsuit (or file an answer in court in opposition to the lawsuit you  filed against them):

First, we submit a “Request for Trial” with the Court from the  attorney’s office. It takes approximately one week for the Court to  return this “Request” with the date and time of your specific trial.

Then, a trial date is confirmed, and the attorney’s office informs you of  the final trial date, time, and location.

Once you meet the attorney at court for your trial, the judge will  encourage you to step outside with your tenants to try and reach a  mutual agreement rather than using the court’s time for a trial. At this  point, one of two scenarios will result.

Scenario 1: You is to enter into a  “Stipulation” (or a mutual written agreement that’s read into the court  record) with your tenant(s), and they agree to who agree to move out by a  certain date and/or abide by a repayment schedule. We will file this  “Stipulation” with the court, then we will give you a copy of the terms  you agreed to.If your tenant continues to pay as agreed in the  “Stipulation”, then your case ends here. If your tenant does not pay  and/or vacate as indicated in the “Stipulation”, you should call our  office, so we can proceed to the next step. In this case, we must return  to court to obtain a “Default Judgment After Stipulation”, then we will  proceed to Step 6: Judgment Entered.

Scenario 2: Trial is held, and you are  the prevailing party at the trial. This may occur if your tenant does  not appear in court or if you are unable to reach a mutual agreement or  “Stipulation.” After your trial, a “Judgment After Trial” form is  prepared and submitted for the Judge’s signature.  Continue to Step 6: Judgment Entered

We understand that this process can be confusing. For a clearer, visual representation of this process, you may review our Flow Chart of the Eviction Process.

What happens if they do not contest the lawsuit (or file an answer)?

Step 5B: The Lawsuit is Not Contested (aka the tenant did not file an answer and no trial will be held)

The majority of the cases in our office are Uncontested, or your  tenant(s) did not file an answer by the deadline that was established by  the court when your tenant(s) were served. This means we can go  directly to the next step to file a “Default Judgment”, and your  eviction will soon be complete.

Step 6: A Judgment is Entered

A “Judgment for Possession” is entered against your tenant(s), and  the court issues a “Writ for Possession.” When the “Writ” is returned  from court, we deliver it to the Sheriff Department with “Instructions”  to evict your tenant(s).

Step 7: Sheriff Posts the Lockout Notice

The day after the Sheriff receives the “Writ” and “Instructions,” the  Sheriff will post a notice at the property, demanding that your  tenant(s) vacate the property within five days, then the Sheriff sends a  letter to the owner/agent informing him of the date by which the  tenant(s) must vacate the property. The letter also provides contact  information for the Sheriff’s Department and provides instructions to  the owner/agent if the tenant(s) do not vacate as ordered.

 Step 8: The Sheriff Evicts

If your tenant(s) have not vacated the property by the “Date of  Restoration” indicated on your letter from the Sheriff, then you must  call the Sheriff Department at the phone number identified on the letter  to confirm the lockout. When the Sheriff arrives at the property, you  must be prepared to change the door locks or have a locksmith on standby  who can change the locks for you. Be sure to review our Landlord Rights and Responsibilities  page for detailed information regarding valuables that were left  behind, how much you can charge for storage fees, your availability on  the lockout date, and more.

Did your tenants leave a rundown car at the property? Did they leave  junk behind that you need to have hauled? Do you want to find your  tenants and try to collect the money they owe you? Visit our Post-Eviction Resources page for phone numbers and websites that can help you after the eviction, or continue to our next step…

Step 9: After the Lockout

Provided below is some general information  regarding the rights and responsibilities of owners, landlords, and  property managers who are in the final stages of the eviction process.

  • The landlord must store any property left behind by the tenant for a  period of fifteen (15) days.  Any perishables or obvious trash may be  disposed of immediately.  At the end of fifteen (15) days, the property  must be disposed of in accordance with Civil Code 1980 through 1991.
  • The landlord cannot hold the property for back rent, but may charge  reasonable storage fees and may hold the property until the storage is  paid.  The storage charge begins at mid- night the day the tenants  vacate the property or the day the eviction is completed, whichever  occurs first.  This is not a mandatory charge and is the landlord’s  decision.
  • The landlord does not have to leave the tenant’s property in the  residence.  He may move it to any secured area for storage.  He may, if  he so chooses, have a moving company come in and move the property to  storage and require the tenant to pay all reasonable moving and storage  costs before releasing the property to the tenant.  Vehicles and pets  should be considered personal property and can be removed.
  • The landlord may change the locks at the time the eviction is  completed.  This is recommended so the landlord can maintain control of  the premises.  Once the eviction is completed, any reentry of the  premises by the tenant must be with the permission of the landlord or  his agent only.
  • The landlord or his agent must be available between the hours of  8:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, to allow the tenant access  to his property. The landlord must provide a number to the tenant where  he or his agent can be reached during these hours. This time element is  set by the court. Other times may be set if convenient and agreeable to  both the landlord and the tenant.
  • If the tenant enters the property without permission or refuses to  leave after being given permission to enter the premises for the purpose  of moving, the landlord should call the local police and the tenant can  be arrested for violation for either 602.5 Penal Code (unauthorized  entering or remaining in non-commercial dwelling house) or 419 Penal  Code (re-entry on land after legal ouster). Both charges are  misdemeanors for which the local Police Department can be called. It is  no longer a Civil problem, and the Sheriff’s Civil Section will not  enforce.
  • The signed receipt is your proof that the eviction has been completed.

Step 10 : Obtain a Money Judgment

If your case did not go to trial with the attorney, then you have the right to obtain a money judgment against your former tenants. You do NOT need to go to court, and we process the paperwork through court on your behalf. We need a copy of your Itemized Disposition of Security Deposit in order to proceed. If your tenant did not have a security deposit, then we need a signed letter stating that a deposit was never received, so the tenant was not entitled to a disposition of deposit. It takes up to 60 days for the court to approve it.

Once you have obtained this judgment, you can hire a collection agency to attempt to collect it for you (agencies normally do not get paid until they collect, and once they collect they typically get paid half of the amount they collected), or you can obtain an Abstract of Judgment, which requires them to pay you back in full if they buy, sell, or refinance a home in the county you request the abstract in. You can request as many counties as you would like. Our office charges per county to obtain an abstract.

Note: We only obtain money judgments for clients who processed their entire eviction through our office.

Hi, I’m Anne-Michelle! How can I help?

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Hi there, I'm Anne-Michelle Frances, founder of Blueprint Evictions.

With over 18 years of experience as a Senior Paralegal working alongside my father, Daniel T. Paris, a seasoned Bay Area eviction attorney, I gained invaluable insights into the complexities of landlord-tenant law. When he retired in 2023, I embarked on a mission to empower landlords like you to navigate California’s stringent tenant-favored laws with confidence. At Blueprint Evictions, we’re dedicated to providing landlords with the tools and resources they need to effectively manage their properties and protect their investments while remaining in compliance with California law. Click below to learn more about my journey and how Blueprint Evictions can support you.

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Hi, I’m Anne-Michelle! How can I help?