Landlords: Fill Out the Eviction Forms (Step 2 of 7)

Eviction for Landlords: Step 2Step 1 - Give Notice Step 2 - Fill Out Forms Step 3 - File In Court Step 4 - Serve Tenant Step 5 - Tenant Responds Step 6 - Trial Step 7 - After Judgment

To start the unlawful detainer case, you have to fill out 3 court forms:

Your local court also may require you to fill out other local forms, so make sure you check with the your court's clerk's office to make sure you have filled out all the necessary papers.

In completing the complaint, keep in mind:

  • The plaintiff is usually the owner or landlord, or the management company if its name is on the lease. But sometimes the plaintiff may be a person who is subletting to another tenant.  For example, a tenant renting a house from the landlord may rent a room to another person, and that person would be a subtenant.
  • The tenant who lives at the rental unit is the defendant. There can be more than 1 defendant.
  • You must try to list the names of all adults living at the rental unit. This will make it easier to enforce the judgment if you win.

When completing the complaint, only you or your lawyer can decide what to say in the complaint. It is illegal for a nonlawyer, including a paralegal or legal assistant, to tell you what to say. Go through the form carefully and make sure you check all the boxes that apply to your case.

Find Local Help

If your court’s self-help center helps with unlawful detainer cases, take your paperwork to them to review. They cannot give you legal advice, but they can make sure you completed the forms so they can be filed. You can also hire your own lawyer to review your papers or to get legal advice, either with your entire case, or just the parts of it that you may need more help with (called “limited scope representation” or “unbundling”). Find out more about limited scope representation.  Click for help finding a lawyer.

© 2017 Judicial Council of California