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In an unlawful detainer complaint, what is the actual 'cause of action'?

Carmichael, CA |

Is 'Unlawful Detainer' the cause of action? (I don't see that in CACI, perhaps I'm missing it.)
Or is, for instance, "X failed to pay rent.' or 'X defaulted on the mortgage' the cause of action?

Of course I found UD in the CACI right after asking. Section 4300 in the CACI is UD. Original question still stands: Additional query: As CACI for UD ONLY applies to tenant/landlord relations, is there some other authority for Homeowner evictions to take place in UD court? (CCP 2924 only authorized purchasers at foreclosure sales to assume previous landlord's status.)

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

The term "cause of action" is incredibly slippery. A court would say, "California follows the primary right theory of Pomeroy; i.e., a cause of action consists of 1) a primary right possessed by the plaintiff, 2) a corresponding primary duty devolving upon the defendant, and 3) a delict or wrong done by the defendant which consists in a breach of such primary right and duty." Got it? Neither do most judges or lawyers. The cause of action for a homeowner eviction is probably that the plaintiff bought the property after a trustees sale with proper notice and that the defendant refuses to leave after three-days notice.

To answer your second question, Code of Civil Procedure section 1161a allows unlawful detainer actions following foreclosure.

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7 comments

Asker

Posted

Thank you Mr. Eschen that's a VERY helpful response. In general I agree about 1161a, however (and I've been looking into it), 1161a requires a defendant to be 'holding over' (which can only be done by a tenant) and/or a subtenant. Other than for expediency, I can see no authority for UD courts to have jurisdiction over homeowner evictions. Even the 2013 Judges Bench Guide states that UD is an improper venue. Thank you again for the quick and substance-full response. Much appreciated.

Asker

Posted

Edit: It's certainly possible I'm missing something on the jurisdictional authority...and I'd love to find it if I am.

James Carl Eschen III

James Carl Eschen III

Posted

Actually, section 1161a allows UDs against "such person," meaning the homeowner, or the person who holds under him or her. I am not sure what you mean by "homeowner eviction." If you mean evictions arising out of the failure to pay HOA dues, then you are right. Section 1161a does not allow them. But if you mean a foreclosure under a deed of trust, a conveyance of property by deed, or a sheriff's sale, section 1161a includes them all.

Asker

Posted

Sorry, specifically I mean the process by which a homeowner is removed from a property after a foreclosure process followed by a UD case. Does not 'such person' refer to the forecloser? I agree CCP 2924 allows 'such person' to initiate UD procedures (but only to assume the role of a pre-existing landlord). The only other thing I could see 'such person' refer to is 'person who holds over' (which by definition is a tenant or subtenant). Related question: If the 2013 Judges Bench Guide states that UD is an improper venue for homeowner evictions (as opposed to landlord/tenant), why is it so common for judges to allow proceedings involving homeowners? I'm pretty sure the bench guide is just a guide and has no authority, but still I'm curious about that. Again, thanks. A clear answer to the original issue has been evading me for a while, and it's bugging me I can't find a CLEAR answer either way. But as you alluded to above, that just may be the state of things in the legal world.....

James Carl Eschen III

James Carl Eschen III

Posted

Section 1161a(b)(3) authorizes a UD against "a person who holds over and continues in possession of a manufactured home, mobilehome, floating home, or real property after a three-day written notice to quit the property has been served upon the person, or if there is a subtenant in actual occupation of the premises, also upon such subtenant, . . . [¶] [w]here the property has been sold in accordance with Section 2924 of the Civil Code, under a power of sale contained in a deed of trust executed by such person, or a person under whom such person claims . . .. Under this statute when “such person” who executes a deed of trust remains in the property after foreclosure and service of the notice to quit, the buyer at the foreclosure sale may bring an unlawful detainer. The statute is not limited to tenants and subtenants. The statute refers to subtenants because they frequently do not occupy the premises against the tenant, whereas tenants by definition occupy the premises as against the landlord. I do not know what the Judges Bench Guide says, but UDs following three-day notices after foreclosure are routine. See Vella v. Hudgins (1977) 20 Cal. 3d 251.

Edna Carroll Straus

Edna Carroll Straus

Posted

Well done Mr. Eschen!

Asker

Posted

The 2013 Judges bench guide says: "eviction of homeowners following foreclosure raises due process issues and cannot be heard as part of summary unlawful detainer proceeding". And yet, as you say, they're routine. Thus my original question. Thanks for your input/responses, I appreciate it.

Posted

CACI?

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