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Can I win my Unlawful Detainer case against my landlord?

Van Nuys, CA |

I was served with an Unlawful Detainer today. I want to fight it on the grounds I was not properly served a 3 Day Notice to Quit the premises. My Landlord tacked a copy to my door, but never mailed me a copy per California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1162(3). What are the chances of me winning this case without a lawyer, since I can't afford one. I have downloaded the Answer-Unlawful Detainer & Proof of Service forms, so far.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. If lack of mailing is your only defense it will boil down to whether the landlord admits improper service. If so, you should win this round. If not and the landlord presents evidence of posting and mailing it will be determined by who the judge believes -- the person who testifies as to service of the 3-day notice, or you.

    If you wish to remain in the rental unit, can afford to bring your back rent current, and reimburse your landlord for the costs of the UD, it is not too late to negotiate a deal.

    Defective service will simply require the landlord to begin anew. Meanwhile the amount of unpaid rent and costs just increases and makes any amicable resolution more difficult.

    I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference


  2. You don't indicate how many days ago you were purportedly served by posting. In some instances,the landlord already obtained a court order to permit you to be served in this manner.

    Your remedy would be to file a Motion to Quash, not an Answer.

    Generally speaking, your chances of winning an unlawful detainer as a tenant are very small if you do not have an attorney and if the reason for the eviction is due to non-payment of rent where habitability issues are not present.

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

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