An unlawful detainer complaint will need to be filed if rent has not been paid in full within 3 days of serving the 3 pay rent or quit notice.
This is where the eviction process gets more complicated, but do not get scared. It is unfortunate but California law heavily favors the tenant when it comes to evictions. There are a number of forms that must be filled out and any error on the form could end up costing the landlord days or even weeks of precious time. Again, I highly recommend getting David Brown’s book if you are doing this on your own. The form you need to fill out is UD-100 which is the Unlawful Detainer Complaint and can be found here. The court will charge you around $250 to file the unlawful detainer.
I wish I had known all of this when I had to do my first eviction but I am going to share some tips with you. First, do not go to the court until you have all the forms filled out and copies made. For my first eviction I showed up to the court and said I needed to file an unlawful detainer and they handed me a large stack of papers. When I asked questions about how to fill it out they recommended I seek professional help and did not offer many answers. I had already scheduled to go into work late to take care of this and because I had on idea of how to fill the papers out I was going to have to come back another day and go into work late once again. I called around to some lawyers and was given quote ranging from $500-$1200 depending on whether the tenant wanted to fight the eviction in court. There was no way I could that amount of money because the rent was just barely covering the mortgage as it was. I did some online research about how to fill the forms out but was still not getting answers I felt 100% sure about. The reason I was so worried is because if you fill the paperwork out wrong and the tenant decides to fight you in court, you could potentially have to start the entire process all over again just because of a minor error in the paperwork. I did not have the time or money to go through that. I found The California Landlord’s Law Book: Evictions online and heard some very good things about it so I went ahead and purchased it. The book ended up having all the answers I needed and gave me the confidence I could successfully do the eviction on my own without paying an attorney.
Complete the Complaint Form UD-100 and CM-010
In addition to form UD-100 (the Complaint) you will also need to complete CM-010. You must also bring with you a copy of the 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, Proof of Service of 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, the rental/lease agreement, and any other supporting documentation that will support your case if it does end up in court. You should make multiple copies of these forms and documentation to bring to the court with you. The court will need copies and they can make them for you but they will charge you so it is probably cheaper and quicker to do this beforehand. The court clerk will issue you a Summons and stamped copy of the Complaint that you will need when you serve the tenant. The next step is to serve the tenant with the summons and complaint.
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