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Frank Wei-Hong Chen

Frank Chen’s Answers

23,789 total


  • How can I prove retaliation vacate notice?

    The day I moved in, I fell. The stepping stones to the front door are loose and there was lots of space between them. The landlords immediately said no one's ever fallen before. Landlord used sand to fill spaces but left bottle caps in sand, which...

    Frank’s Answer

    If the rental dwelling is illegal, you will have a tough time proving retaliatory eviction. Generally speaking, a landlord can evict a tenant from an illegal dwelling, but cannot collect rent from the tenant. In other words, the landlord can get restitution of the premises but not a monetary judgment for unpaid rent.

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  • Three brothers jointly own several real estates property, can just one brother evicts a tenant without the other two to agree?

    In my family, I am the eldest married girl and three other adult brothers. Originally I am the sole owner to all these real estate properties. Ten years ago, I transferred title DEEDs of these properties to be jointly owned by three brother. ...

    Frank’s Answer

    1. No. Generally speaking, a co-owner of real property cannot evict another co-owner because each co-owner has the right to occupy the property, absent some written agreement which provides otherwise.
    2. Doubtful, if you voluntarily conveyed ownership to your siblings 10 years ago. You will need to have a legal basis (other than just changing your mind) to cancel the grant deed or quitclaim deed. Moreover, you will probably have a statute of limitations hurdle.

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  • If I win a judgement in small clams court can I put a lein on the defendants home AND also garnish her wages, can I do both?

    Loaned my friend some money several years ago, she has been making small payments regularly for the past 2 years. I didn't get any collateral when I loaned her the money, but she did give me a promissory note of repayment of the loan. As of today ...

    Frank’s Answer

    Certainly. You can record an Abstract of Judgment in each county wherein she owns or might own real property, and at the same levy on bank accounts, garnish wages, and take a judgment debtor examination. The methods to enforce a civil judgment are not exclusive.

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  • I am very unhappy with out come of Tenant -Landlord settlement reached in mediation.Can i sue in small claims?

    My attorney did not inform me of a few things I consider "Important", in mediation we settled, and I am not happy. I got less of my deposit which i now know im entittled to all of plus, interest under rent control.Also I was unaware of relocation ...

    Frank’s Answer

    If you reached a settlement in the mediation, then all of the claims which were or could have been asserted would most likely be covered in the release of the settlement agreement. You will not be able to bring a new small claims lawsuit to assert damages which you could have gotten through the settlement in the mediation. That is the way it goes.

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  • CCP 664.6 after unconditional dismissal with prejudice?

    Settlement Agreement was reached, plaintiff filed notice of settlement with court. 3 days later plaintiff asked the court for an unconditional dismissal with prejudice as to all causes of action against defendant. Court granted the dismissal on th...

    Frank’s Answer

    No, unless the settlement agreement itself recites that the court shall retain jurisdiction to enforce the settlement pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6, the court loses subject matter jurisdiction to entertain such motion after the case is dismissed. (Wackeen v. Malis (2002) 97 Cal. App. 4th 429, 437.

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  • If you receive a Unlawful Detainer (Eviction) in the mail on a Wednesday, What day do you have to respond by ...

    Filed on August 14 Mailed on August 17 Received on August 19

    Frank’s Answer

    Service would not be proper if you only received the summons and complaint for unlawful detainer by mail. There are 5 ways to serve an unlawful detainer in California:

    1) Personal service;
    2) Substitute service;
    3) Mail a notice and acknowledgment of receipt;
    4) Posting and mailing; and
    5) Certified mail

    With respect to substitute service, a landlord can’t use substitute service until the process server tried 2 or 3 times to serve the defendant in person. The law for sub-service is set forth in California Code of Civil Procedure section 415.20(2):

    "If a copy of the summons and of the complaint cannot with reasonable diligence be personally delivered to the person to be served as specified in Section 416.60, 416.70, 416.80, or 416.90, a summons may be served by leaving a copy of the summons and of the complaint at such person's dwelling house, usual place of abode, usual place of business, or usual mailing address other than a United States Postal Service post office box, in the presence of a competent member of the household or a person apparently in charge of his or her office, place of business, or usual mailing address other than a United States Postal Service post office box, at least 18 years of age, who shall be informed of the contents thereof, and by thereafter mailing a copy of the summons and of the complaint (by first-class mail, postage prepaid) to the person to be served at the place where a copy of the summons and of the complaint were left. Service of a summons in this manner is deemed complete on the 10th day after the mailing."

    A tenant's time to respond to the sub-served summons begins on the date of the MAILING of the summons and complaint.

    With respect to posting and mailing, a landlord can use this type of service only in unlawful detainer cases and only if the landlord obtained permission from the court. To apply the landlord must have a declaration from the process server that says they tried to serve the defendant in person and by substitute service. If the court gives the landlord permission, the process server posts a copy of the summons and complaint at the property in a way that the tenant’s most likely to see and sends a copy by certified mail to the last place the defendant lived. This service is completed 10 days after posting and mailing.

    With respect to certified mail, this type of service is only for unlawful detainer cases, and can only be used if the landlord served the defendant with a “Notice of Belief of Abandonment” AND the defendant served the landlord with a written “Notice of Intent Not to Abandon”. The process server can mail the summons and complaint to the defendant by certified mail to the address on the defendant’s Notice of Intent Not to Abandon. If the defendant did not write an address on the notice, the landlord must send it to the same address where they served the Notice of Belief of Abandonment. This only works if the landlord serves the defendant no more than 60 days after the landlord got their Notice of Intent Not to Abandon. The service is complete 10 days after the process server mails the forms mailing.

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  • I was told by voicemail that plaintiff dismissed the case, don't show up to trial tomorrow. Should I have signed something?

    I am the defendant pro per. Plaintiff is a lawyer and he filed a request for dismissal without prejudice late thursday. Our 9am trial set for tomorrow morning has been removed from court website calendar. This is a civil limited case. I filed an a...

    Frank’s Answer

    Yes, he is allowed to do this. Your consent is not required for the plaintiff to voluntarily dismiss the case without prejudice prior to the commencement of trial. See California Code of Civil Procedure section 581.

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  • I was late in by 1 week with my answer to an unlawful detainer. How do I proceed? Is there a specific form to file.

    The property I live in is borderline uninhabitable, bugs, water leaks etc,. What are my options?

    Frank’s Answer

    If a default has already been entered against you, then you will need to file a motion to set aside default (and possibly also vacated default judgment). There is no form for this, it has to be specially prepared.

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  • Unlawful detainer(s) served on all 4 tenants...Do all 4 have to answer and/or appear in court?

    my roommates and I were served UD paperwork today. Do all of us have to 1) answer the summons 2) file for fee waivers 3) appear in court or can one person be designated spokesperson for the other tenants

    Frank’s Answer

    All four must each file an answer to the complaint if each of the four is not an attorney and desires to represent himself or herself in pro per. Each must also file for his or her own fee waiver. Each should also appear in court at the time of trial to testify and present evidence as to why he or she should not be evicted. A non-lawyer cannot represent other tenants/defendants in the case.

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  • Can the default of a defendant still be requested after 10 days deadline in Cal rule or is too late after that?

    If the ten days limit to file the request for default is missed as stipulated by California Rule of Court, will the request for default be rejected after that or is there any other recourse ?

    Frank’s Answer

    So long as the defendant has not filed an answer, demurrer or motion to strike, the default can still be entered (assuming the request for entry of default form is correct, and assuming there is a proper proof of service of summons on file).

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