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How does a rental situation result in unlawful detainer?

On Behalf of | Oct 23, 2020 | Business Litigation |

Landlord and tenant laws cover extensively the many situations that either party may find themselves in. These laws are of great importance since without them, it could create a housing crisis and situations where people end up homeless or where tenants take advantage of landlords.

The state tries to balance laws to ensure they are fair to both parties. One area of landlord-tenant laws that is often at the heart of landlord/tenant disputes is vacating the premises.

Landlords need to keep paying tenants in rentals who will take good care of the units and abide by the rules in the lease. If a tenant refuses to leave a rental, it can create a bad situation for the landlord. In some cases, it creates a legal situation called an unlawful detainer.

Situations that create an unlawful detainer

According to California Legislative Information, a tenant can become an unlawful detainer if he or she uses the rental property for illegal activities or if he or she creates a nuisance by being in the property. Another situation is the tenant stays in the rental after the end of the lease without the permission of the landlord.

Tenants can also create an unlawful detainer situation if they alert their landlord they will leave the property but then do not leave. A default on rent also constitutes an unlawful detainer.

Other actions that break the lease can create an unlawful detainer situation if the tenant refuses to leave the rental.


The law may require that a landlord provide the tenant with three days’ notice before it can rule the tenant as an unlawful detainer. This notice tells the tenant he or she has three days to vacate the property.


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