Glossary of Eviction Terms


3-Day Notice to Cure or Quit: A notice of eviction to a tenant where the tenant must either cure (solve or eliminate) a problem or leave (move-out) a rental property.

3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit: A notice of eviction to a tenant where the tenant must either pay rent or leave (move-out) a rental property

3-Day Notice to Perform Covenant or Quit: A notice of eviction to a tenant where the tenant must correct or complete a requirement of the rental agreement or leave (move-out) a rental property.)

3-Day Notice to Quit: A notice of eviction to a tenant or former home owner requiring them to leave (move-out) a property.

5-Day Notice to Vacate (Sheriff’s): A notice of eviction from a sheriff or levying officer requiring occupants of a property to leave (move-out) within five days. If the occupants do not comply within the five days, the officer returns and physically removes each occupant.

30 Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy: A notice used by a landlord to inform a tenant of the landlord’s intent to terminate the tenant’s rental and that the tenant is required to move-out by the thirtieth day. In California, these notices may for used for tenancies that have been one year or less.

60 Day Notice to terminate the tenancy: A notice used by a landlord to inform a tenant of the landlord’s intent to terminate the tenant’s rental and that the tenant is required to move-out by the sixtieth day. In California, these notices may for used for tenancies that have been more than one year.

Affirmative Defense: (for civil cases) a defense to a lawsuit that offers a fact or set of facts that, if proven, defeat a plaintiff’s allegation or allegations. Read more.

Answer: A defendant’s response to a civil lawsuit where a plaintiff has filed a complaint. An answer outlines the defendant’s response to each claim made by the plaintiff in the lawsuit. Typically, if a defendant does not specifically deny a claim in the answer, then the court will deem it admitted as true. Breach: when one party to a contract fails to fulfill any of its obligations. Read More.

Complaint: an initial document or set of documents that initiate a lawsuit.

Condemned: a property or structure that has been designated by a government agency as hazardous or any other condition that renders it un-occupiable.

Covenant: another word for an agreement or commitment.

Cure: solving and or eliminating a problem or condition.

Default: when a party to a lawsuit, usually a defendant, does not respond to the lawsuit papers on time, or does not complete an action required by court on time.

Eviction Control: a law or set of laws a city or municipality may designate to restrict the reasons or methods tenants may be evicted.

Eviction Notice: a formal letter or notice to a tenant, required by law, indicating an issue with the tenancy and/or requiring a tenant to leave the property.

Forcible Detainer: In California, when a tenant enters or remains on a property without the landlord’s permission, and/or unlawfully holds possession of property by threat or violence, and does not vacate or surrender possession when demanded.

Foreclosure: the process of regaining a mortgaged property from a mortgagor who fails to make mortgage payments.

Holdover: a tenant of a rental property who remains in the property after the lease or notice to vacate has expired.

Illegal lock-out: when a landlord restricts or denies access or entrance to a rental property, by locking or preventing entry by any other method, without first obtaining a court order allowing such.

Judgment: a decision by a court regarding a the outcome of a legal case.

Levying officer: A law enforcement officer given power by a court order to execute a seizure or sale of money or property.

Lock-out: See “Sheriff’s Lock-out” below.

Month-to-Month Tenancy: A rental agreement where the term of the tenancy is 30 days or one month that renews at the end each month.

Motion to Quash: A request made to a court to render a previous decision or action as invalid.

Non-payment of Rent: A situation or proceeding when a tenant does not pay rent on time or at all.

Notice: A notification or warning to make a tenant aware of a circumstance or action.

Perform: To correct, complete or fulfill an action or task.

Possession: Controlling a property by means of occupying or maintaining access.

Post: Method by which notice or court documents are attached to the door of a rental property. The document is usually taped to the door.

Quit: To leave, vacate, or surrender possession of a rental property.

Relocation Assistance: Monetary compensation for relocating a tenant after removing them from a property.

Removal: The action by which a tenant is made to leave a property, or the action by which a levying officer employs to force a tenant from a property.

Rent Control: a law or set of laws a city or municipality may designate to restrict the amount of rent increases, or control the way landlord-tenant actions proceed.

Serves: See “Service of Process.”

Service: See “Service of Process.”

Service of Process: The procedure required by law to inform another party of a legal proceeding. Learn more about Service of Process.

Sheriff’s Lock-out: The process by which a landlord regains possession of a rental property with a sheriff, or levying officer, who removes the occupants. The landlord is then allowed to change the locks with a locksmith.

Sub-standard: In relation to rental property, the condition of the whole or part of a property that is not in compliance with housing standards or is defective under law.

Summary Judgement: When a court rules that there are no factual issues in dispute or that need to be tried, and the case can be decided on facts that do not need trial.

Summary proceeding: A court action or legal proceeding that does not include or dispenses with normal or formal procedures. In evictions, a summary proceeding is also meant to speed up the legal process.

Summons: A legal notice from court alerting a defendant of a pending case, and/or an order from court requiring a person to appear in court

Unlawful detainer: The term by which eviction actions are named in California courts.

Withhold Rent: The act of a tenant not paying rent, usually because of a landlord’s breach of rental contract or legal responsibilities.

Writ of Possession: A court order allowing a sheriff or levying officer to remove occupants from a property.


No Legal Advice Intended. This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal issues problems.


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