Eviction Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a money judgment?
- Every eviction suit has two components. The first and usually most important is possession of the property. Secondly, we also seek for you all rent you are due through the date of the judgment. The second portion is commonly called a "money judgment."
What do I do with the stuff the tenant leaves in the property?
- You are required by law to store the tenant's property for fifteen days after the Sheriff performs the lock out. Most landlords prefer to store the property at the rental unit, but the law only requires that it be stored in a safe place. After the fifteenth day, you may keep or throw away all property worth less than $300.00. Property worth $300.00 or more must be auctioned pursuant to a legal procedure and the proceeds, after the cost of the auction, given to the county. The law is unclear if each item has to be worth over $299.99, or all of the property added together worth over $299.99. If you are uncertain you should have an appraiser appraise the property before throwing it away.
- During the fifteen days, if the tenant requests return of the property, the landlord must, at a reasonable day and time, allow the tenant to remove the property. If the tenant cannot reasonably remove all the property at this time, then another time must be arranged.
- This procedure does not apply if the tenant is not removed by the Sheriff or if someone else's property is left on the property.
What do I do with the tenants property if the tenant moves out not by the Sheriff?
- There is a separate optional procedure in this case. The landlord gives notice to the tenant of the property left at the rental unit and also describes the property. If the tenant does not retrieve the property, you may keep or throw away all property worth less than $300.00. Property worth $300.00 or more must be auctioned pursuant to a legal procedure and the proceeds, after the cost of the auction, given to the county. The law is unclear if each item has to be worth over $299.99, or all of the property added together worth over $299.99. If you are uncertain you should have an appraiser appraise the property before throwing it away.
What do I do with the tenants security deposit?
- You are entitled to deduct from the security deposit all sums you are owed by the tenant. You are required to account to the tenant for all sums you deduct, and return the balance of the security deposit to the tenant.
- Before the tenant moves out you must give the tenant an opportunity to inspect the property with you. At this time you must list to the tenant all the items the tenant must repair, or you will deduct the cost from the security deposit.
- Landlords are entitled to deduct the cost of repairing any item in the rental unit. However, a Landlord is not allowed to deduct "reasonable wear and tear." What is "reasonable wear and tear" depends on the circumstances. For example, repainting the rental unit after the tenant was in the unit five years would be reasonable wear and you would not be able to deduct this from the security deposit. Repainting the rental unit after a year, because the tenant was dirty, would not be reasonable wear, so you could deduct this amount from the security deposit.
Where do I mail the tenants accounting and security deposit?
- You mail this to the tenant's last known address, even if this is your rental unit.
- A stalling tactic of tenants is to file bankruptcy, however, this is rare. Once a tenant has filed bankruptcy, we can take no further action on the eviction until after we have received permission from the bankruptcy court. It typically will take us about four weeks to receive this permission. There is an additional charge.
- It is not required that you ask for the bankruptcy court's permission. You can wait until the bankruptcy concludes. Many bankruptcies are terminated by the bankruptcy court in a few months, but many end much later. Once the bankruptcy is over, we can restart the eviction where we left off.
This information is only certain to be true in the Antelope Valley of California. While these FAQs are generally true, they have not been checked against such things as local county or local Court rules except in the Antelope Valley. If you are anywhere other than in the Antelope Valley, you should check with local Counsel before making any plans based on this information.