Assuming that you filed an Answer on the court-approved form and paid the filing fee, the landlord will request a court date. The court will notify you of that date, which must be within 20 days of the date the court receives the landlord's request. If a judgment is obtained, a writ of possession is issued and delivered to the sheriff. Depending on his backlog it may be several days before he serves it on the tenant, who then has 5 days to move out.
You mention habitability. If you have grounds, you must allege that in your answer. The court form gives you the opportunity to check boxes and add additional information. Habitability is defined in the statutes. You also must have requested repairs in writing. If the court finds that you have a justifiable defense, he may reduce the rent you owe, but in 35 years of practice I have never heard of a cash award just because the landlord did not make repairs. for the tenant. After all, if the premises were uninhabitable, you could have moved out.
If the landlord has an attorney, I would suggest contacting him/her to see if you can negotiate a settlement. Many unlawful detainer law firms are open to negotiations, as am I, and settle many of their claims without going to court. That would avoid a judgment on your record, which might make it difficult for you to rent again.
After the tenant files an answer, the court can set a trial date within 21 days after the landlord requests a trial date.
Assuming the tenant loses and the landlord wins a judgment, the landlord could obtain a writ of possession the same day and have the sheriff serve the writ and notice to vacate the same day. The tenant then has 5 days to actually vacate before the sheriff returns for the lockout.
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.