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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 99981
Experience:  Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
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I filed an unlawful detainer action against a tenant in California.

Customer Question

I filed an unlawful detainer action against a tenant in California. The summons and complaint were served on 15th of June. The tenant moved out on 21st of June. She did not pay rent for about 2 months and I incurred court costs. complaint. It has been more than 15 days since the service of the complaint. She has not yet responded to the complaint. Can I still get default judgment to get monetary damage?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (A) This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; and (B) the site allows experts not participate in phone calls and I may or may not be able to participate in this feature.
I am sorry to hear about this situation. Can you please tell me if the DEPOSIT she left would cover the 2 months, or not (assuming there is no damage to the property)?
This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Deposit will not cover the two month's rent. Also, she left the property with lots of junk and was not cleaned. I had to hire a person to haul away the junk and clean the property. The rent due for 51 days plus cleaning plus court cost minus security deposit comes to little over $1,800.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
Provided that the apartment is legal (i.e. landlord has all the certificates, if any were needed), in CA, an eviction suit can also sue for breach of contract on the rent.
So if the complaint has the breach of contract action on it (one can amend if needed and serve again), the Court can still hear it.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please rate when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces/stars and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It does not clarify. Since the tenant has not responded to the complaint in the required time, default Judgement from the court will be almost automatic if I request it. There will not any hearing. The question is that since she has moved out, can I go for default judgement? Are there any downside?Also, are you a CA real estate attorney?
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
No, I am based in TX. JustAnswer sends the question to the first available expert unless you specifically request someone from a specific state. I stand by my answer however, since this is general doctrine which is basically the same in every US jurisdiction.
Yes, if they do not answer and do not show, then they default.
If they default, the Plaintiff (i.e. landlord) can ask for whatever they want in the judgment, and normally receive it.
However, SOME courts tend to be wary of allowing in judgment what was NOT sought in the complaint. Thus, if your complaint has not included the request for breach of contract RENT, it may be a good idea to include it. That is what I mean. I hope that clarifies.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use the REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or rate positively and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The complaint asks for past rent and attorney fee/court cost.
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.
Oh great.
Then yes, the Court should then render a judgment for it in default.
There is virtually NO downside in getting a default judgment. A default judgment is the same as a judgment after a hearing.
Gentle Reminder: Please, use the REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or rate positively and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

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