NOTICE TO TENANT:
You must give the tenant an appropriate written notice prior to initiating a case with the court. There are several types of notices available at office supply stores and if you are uncertain as to what type, you should obtain legal assistance. You may be required to provide proof of service to the judge if you go to trial.
SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT:
The complaint, summons and civil case cover sheet forms are available for free at the EZLegal website or at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms. There are also complete Unlawful Detainer forms packets available at the Civil Division of the court for a nominal fee. Before filing with the court, you must make a copy for yourself and a copy for each party named in your complaint. Bring all originals and copies to the clerk for filing with the appropriate fee, which is also available on this web site.
SERVICE OF COMPLAINT AND SUMMONS:
A copy of the Summons and Complaint must be served on each defendant (tenant). You cannot do this yourself but may be done by the sheriff, a legal process server or someone over the age of 18 who is not a party to the action. A Proof of Service must be completed and filed with the court.
If the defendant fails to file an Answer within the time allotted, you will need to file a Request for Entry of Default, a clerk’s Judgment for possession and request a Writ be issued for possession of the premises. These forms are available for free at the EZLegal website or at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms. After filing and the payment of appropriate fees, you will need to take the writ for possession to the sheriff’s department for service.
If a defendant files an answer, a Request to Set Case for Trial is required for the matter to go forward to trial. These forms are available on either this or the governmental web site. Once filed, the court will mail you notice regarding the trial date. For a list of cases where answers have been filed, see this web site under Answers Filed.
PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIAL:
You should start gathering all the information that relates to your case, including witnesses and paperwork. You will need to bring three copies of each paper with you: one for the judge, one for the defendant and one for yourself. Children are not allowed in the courtroom so do not bring them with you. The court does not provide interpreters for this type of case. If you need an interpreter to help you in court, you must bring one with you. The court also does not provide a Court Reporter and if you desire to have one present, you must make arrangements to hire one yourself.
During the trial, the bailiff will take any exhibits from you and give them to the judge. You will need to speak clearly and only when asked to do so. Be sure you speak to the judge, not to the other party. Do not argue with or interrupt the judge, the other party, or attorney. Each side will be given an opportunity to be heard. Try not to raise your voice but speak in a calm, clear way and do not engage in name-calling or make demeaning comments.
JUDGMENT AND WRIT OF EXECUTION:
If the court orders judgment for you, it will be your responsibility to prepare the Judgment – Unlawful Detainer for the court’s signature. You will also need to prepare a Writ of Execution for Possession of Real Property. After paying the appropriate fee and issuance by the clerk, the writ must be taken to the Sutter County Sheriff’s Department for service on the defendant. The defendant will have five days after service of the writ within which to vacate the premises or the Sheriff will remove them.
If you have any legal questions, you must contact an attorney or do your own research. Landlord and Tenant Clinics are held at California Rural Legal Assistance located at 511 D Street, Marysville, CA 95901, (530) 742-5191.