Bakersfield Eviction Defense
If you are being wrongfully evicted, call us immediately: (661) 873-4423
What will you do for me?
- Initial consultation with registered Legal Document Assistant to assure compliance with state and local filing requirements.
- Preparation of any applicable Covid-19 response notices.
- Professional process service of Covid-19 notices.
- Professional preparation of unlawful detainer answer and supporting documents by Registered Legal Document Assistant.
- Electronic filing of unlawful detainer case documents.
- Professional Process Service of response.
Our low flat-fee of $350 does not include significant payments to others, such as court filing fees, process service, or attorney fees. We do pay the cost of electronic filing. The cost of service of documents is heavily dependent location of the property and the difficulty serving the tenant, so costs vary greatly depending on the location of the property and the availability of process servers; however, most answers to an unlawful detainer can be served by mail, and we DO NOT CHARGE for service by mail. If you have a friend willing to serve papers for you, we can give them instructions as to how to do it. It is common for our clients to only pay our fee and the court filing fee, which is currently $350 for the the initial lawsuit documents. The court’s fee schedule can be found here.
Common Eviction Defenses
A landlord cannot just toss a tenant into the street without reason. Some common defenses to an unlawful detainer action include:
- Self-Help Evictions. A landlord can only evict a tenant by going to court. It is illegal for a landlord to attempt to force a tenant out of a rental property through other ways, such as shutting off the utilities to the property or changing the locks. This type of action is often referred to as a “self-help” eviction. If a landlord attempts a “self-help” eviction, the tenant can sue the landlord for damages (see Cal. Civ. Code § 789.3).
- Rent has been paid. If rent is accepted after a landlord gives notice, eviction may be improper.
- Failure to maintain. A landlord is required to maintain a rental unit according to a set of minimum standards specified in Civil Code §§ 1941, 1941.1, and 1941.3). If a landlord does not maintain a rental unit according to these standards, state law spells out when and how tenants may withhold rent (see Cal. Civ. Code § 1942 and Green v. Superior Court, 10 Cal.3d 616 (1974)). If a tenant complies with the law in withholding rent, and the landlord chooses to evict the tenant for nonpayment of rent, the tenant can use the landlord’s failure to maintain the rental unit as an affirmative defense to the eviction (see Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. § 1174.2).
- Discrimination. The federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal for a landlord to discriminate against a tenant based on race, religion, gender, national origin, familial status (including children under the age of 18 and pregnant women), and disability. In addition, California has enacted the Fair Employment and Housing Act, which also protects against discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, medical condition, and age. If a landlord tries to evict a tenant based on any of these characteristics, the tenant can use the discrimination as a defense to the eviction.
- Covid-19. Temporary laws due to the current pandemic may provide additional protections and defenses for renters.
Representation in court
We do not, will not, and cannot represent you in court. We are a document service providers, not an attorneys. In most cases, no court appearances are necessary, but you can represent yourself at the court trial if needed. A hearing and appearance is only needed if the tenants file an answer to the unlawful detainer. If you would feel more comfortable being represented by an attorney or you just don’t want to go to court, we can introduce you to an experience eviction lawyer to represent you on a limited scope basis for a flat-fee of around $350 per court appearance. There is usually only one appearance per case. We know contract attorneys all over California.
We are located in the historical Haberfelde Building at 1706 Chester Ave, Ste. 350, Bakersfield, CA 93301. We can be reached at (661) 873-4423 during the week, on weekends, during the day, and in the evening. Payments can be made here.