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Evicting Unknown Tenants in California

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Eviction actions in the San Francisco Bay Area, much less any where in California can be a tricky process filled with challenges.  Many of these challenges are presented as basic logistical problems such as identifying who an action should be brought against.  For example, a common problem many landlords face is that after renting a unit to a tenant, the tenant will then begin to sub-rent the apartment to a number of other tenants.  Very often the original tenant will not inform the landlord of these other individuals now living in residence.  When an eviction action is brought these unknown tenants must also be evicted.  The question for the landlord then becomes: how do I evict tenants that I do not know about?

As it turns out the California Civil Code and Code of Civil Procedure provides a method to assure that an eviction action is brought against all possible tenants both known and unknown.  Specifically, Judicial Counsel Form CP10.5,  when properly served on a household, allows a Landlord to serve all unknown tenants therein.  In addition, when bringing the eviction action it is important to bring it against several “Does.” For example, a eviction action when filed in court might typically be entitled something along the lines of: “Landlord Jones v. John Smith and Does 1 through 10 inclusive.”  These “Doe” tenants in turn can then be replaced with actual names once the identity of the unknown tenants come to light.

Understanding these nuances at the outset of a case can save you a lot of time and trouble farther down the line.  The skilled landlord tenant attorneys of Jones & Devoy have experience in both defending against and bringing eviction actions. Whether you need to be pointed in the right direction, or you need the entire matter handled by attorneys, our attorneys can help you in an efficient and effective manner.

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    Alexander T. Jones

    Mr. Jones has an extensive background in both general litigation and family law as well as experience in various business and transactional matters…

    Daniel R. Devoy

    Practicing civil litigation with an emphasis on client advocacy, Mr. Devoy is experienced in litigating a wide range of legal matters …

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