After the 3 day notice expired, landlord told us that if we paid the past due rent, plus attorney and late fees the eviction would be dismissed although the paperwork had already been filed. Past due rent was paid, and the following months rent was paid shortly after that. It was my understanding that the situation was resolved. Instead, the landlord held the payments and returned them to me without notice, after my response was due and after they had filed for and gotten a default judgement. They have since accepted additional rent from me, but Ive now been locked out by the sheriff. Would filing a motion to vacate based on CCC 473 be appropriate and can I ask for my tenancy to be reinstated?
Especially if the default was obtained by improper means (e.g. the landlord fraudulently told you that there was no need to respond to the lawsuit), you may well have grounds to seek relief under CCP Section 473 (or perhaps 473.5, if you did not receive actual notice).
Based on the facts you outline, you should have a valid argument/defense that the landlord waived the (3-day?) notice and/or created a new tenancy by accepting rent for a period after the termination date.
You should immediately seek help from a local landlord-tenant attorney or tenants rights organization.
Sounds like you have a good argument. The problem is timing and the expense of the pleadings you have to file to be reinstated. If it has been relet then you likely are only going to get damages. I suggest you simply file a motion to set aside and not restore the tenancy. A lot less expense and paperwork. This is a technical area of the law.
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