California Assembly Bill 2819 Keeps Limited Jurisdiction Eviction Cases Permanently Masked
Under prior California law which was in effective from 2003-2016, limited jurisdiction (under $25,000) unlawful detainer (eviction) court records were "masked" (meaning hidden from public records) for the first 60 days after the case was filed but unmasked after 60 days unless the tenant prevails.
California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1161.2In an effort to respond to California's ongoing affordable housing crisis and to prevent tenants from being inadvertently denied an opportunity to secure housing simply as a result of being named in an unlawful detainer lawsuit, the California Legislature enacted Assembly Bill (AB) 2819. Effective January 1, 2017, California Code of Civil Procedure section 1161.2 automatically keeps limited jurisdiction unlawful detainer cases permanently "masked" unless the plaintiff/landlord prevails within 60 days of filing the eviction complaint. Even when a landlord obtains a judgment after trial in a limited jurisdiction unlawful detainer action more than 60 days after the filing of the complaint, the records will be unmasked only upon court order upon issuing judgment for the plaintiff. (Code Civ. Proc., section 1161.2(a)(1)(E).) The new law also specifically authorizes a court to seal the unlawful detainer court record if the parties so stipulate. (Code Civ. Proc., section 1161.2(a)(2).)
California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1167.1Additionally, under newly enacted California Code of Civil Procedure section 1167.1, if the plaintiff/landlord fails to file a proof of service of the summons within 60 days of filing the unlawful detainer complaint, the court may dismiss the action without prejudice.