- No response to the Complaint
- A response to the Complaint
- Preparing for trial
- Presenting your case in court
- Post Trial Procedures
- Frequently Asked Questions
As the landlord, you must begin by giving the tenant an appropriate, written notice. If you are uncertain whether this should be a 3-day, 30-day or 60-day notice, you should contact a legal advisor for assistance. If the tenant does not comply with your demand, you can begin the legal process by filing a Complaint with the court. You must submit the notice given to the tenant when you file your Complaint. When you file, you must submit a copy of the notice given to the tenant, a Civil Case Cover Sheet, Summons, and Complaint. Forms are available on the Judicial Council's Web site - external link. All local forms are available on the court's Local Forms page. You may file your papers in person at Carol Miller Justice Center, by mail, or you may file electronically. If you submit your documents for filing and want the court to return them to you via mail, you must also provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope with sufficient postage. The clerk will provide you with endorsed copies of the Complaint.
You must then have the tenant personally served with a copy of the Summons and Complaint. You cannot do this yourself, but anyone who is over the age of 18 who is not a party to the suit can serve the papers for you. You may have the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department - external link or a registered process server serve these papers for you, but you should be aware that they charge a fee for this service. The person who makes service will need to complete a Proof of Service and give it to you. You will need to file this document with the court.
Tenant has five (5) calendar days, if he or she is personally served, to file a response with the court. If you do not receive a copy of the tenant’s response by mail, you may want to come to the court, or call the court 916-875-7746, to see if an Answer has been filed. You can file the original Proof of Service at that time.
If the tenant does not file a response to the Complaint
If the tenant has not filed a timely Answer or other legal pleading in opposition to the Complaint, you will need to file a Request to Enter Default (CIV-100), a Clerk’s Judgment for Possession (UD-100) and request a Writ of Possession (EJ-100) be issued for the premises. These and other forms may be obtained through the Judicial Council - external link. Once you give the completed paperwork to the clerk and pay the appropriate fee, s/he will give you the documents that you will need to take to the Sacramento Sheriff's Department, Civil Division, to complete the eviction. You cannot evict the tenant yourself.
Sheriff's Civil Division
3341 Power Inn Road, Room 313
Sacramento, CA 95826
If the tenant files a response to the complaint
There are a variety of options available to the tenant including filing an Answer or a Motion in opposition to the Complaint. In most cases, an Answer will be filed.
When an Answer (UD-105) has been filed, the landlord must file a Request to Set Case for Trial (UD-150) in order to go further. The court will mail you a notice stating the date, time and department of the trial once it has been scheduled. You should receive this notice in about one week.
Preparing for your trial
Gather all of the information that relates to your case. This may include witnesses or paperwork such as the following:
- A copy of the lease or rental agreement
- Any letters you may have written or received about the property
- Any receipts you have
- Any inspection reports such as reports from the building inspector or health department
- Police reports
- Any other documents that you think will help you convince the judge that the tenants should be evicted.
You will need to bring three copies of each paper with you: one for the judge, one for the tenant, and one for yourself. Copies submitted to the judge will not be returned. Organize your paperwork prior to your arrival to court so that you can easily find what you need when you are in the courtroom. You may want to make notes for yourself so that you do not forget to tell the judge something that you think is important.
Presenting your case in court
Unlawful Detainer cases at the Carol Miller Justice Center will usually be heard in Dept. 88 which is located on the 3rd floor of the facility. Try to arrive a few minutes before your case is scheduled to be heard. Several cases will be set for the same time period, so you may have to wait your turn.
The clerk will take roll to see who is present before the judge comes into the courtroom. You will be given an opportunity to meet with a mediator who may help you reach an agreement with the tenant without having to wait for the judge. The judge will usually tell you what the court’s decision is at the end of the trial. If you do not hear what is said or do not understand something, you may want to ask, "Your Honor, could you explain what you just said?"
Sometimes the judge will want to think about your case or research the law before making a decision. In this case, the judge may take the case under submission. When a decision has been made, the court will send a written decision to all of the parties.
Post Trial Procedures
After court trial, the court clerk will prepare a formal judgment and mail notices of entry of judgment to all parties.
You must have a Writ of Possession issued by the clerk, and then you can have the Sheriff's Department do the lock-out. A sheriff will give the tenant notice that they have five (5) days to vacate the premises. Even though you have a court order, you cannot evict the tenant yourself.
If the tenant does not move out in the 5-day period, the Sheriff will remove the tenant from the property and change the locks.
There are a number of resources available in the community which may be able to assist you. These agencies are listed in the Community Resources section of this site.
The court does not provide interpreters for Unlawful Detainer matters. If you need an interpreter to help you in court, you must bring one with you. A family member or friend may serve as your interpreter.
The court provides accommodations for persons with disabilities upon request.