From SENIORS & THE LAW, a Guide for Maturing Californians
The fact that an eviction will leave you homeless is not a legal defense. However, you cannot be kicked out of your home without a court order issued by a judge. And even then, only a sheriff or marshal can actually evict you. Your landlord cannot lock you out or shut off your utilities without going through a legal process. If you break your rental agreement by failing to pay your rent, your landlord could send you a three-day notice. If you did not violate your rental agreement, the landlord could send you a 30 day notice. Then, after the notice period is over, he or she could file an unlawful detainer seeking court-ordered eviction. A copy must be delivered to you. At that point, you would have five days to oppose the eviction by filing a written answer with the court. Seek legal help immediately. If you ignore an unlawful detainer, it could result in a default judgment authorizing immediate eviction.
If you cannot afford the fee for filing an answer, you can submit a form asking the court to waive it. And if you have very little income and cannot afford an attorney, you may quality for assistance from a local legal aid society.
Even if the court authorizes the eviction, however, you have a last resort. You could file a petition for relief from forfeiture. If the eviction would be harder on you than your continued residence would be on the landlord, the judge may allow you to stay if you are able to pay the rent.
You could also ask the judge to postpone the eviction to give you time to prepare an appeal or to find somewhere else to live. Judges often grant such a request if you pay all of the rent up to your departure date.
Remember: You cannot be physically removed from your property without a court order signed by a Superior Court judge. Even then, only the Marshall or County Sheriff’s officers can remove you, not park management.
Park managers will sometimes try to evict a resident owner’s guests living in the mobilehome. The MRL defines the guest’s rights as:
MRL 798.34 (b) – homeowner living alone may have one other person move in without imposition of a fee.
MRL 798.34 (c) – homeowner living alone may have one other person move in as caregiver, with treatment plan from owner’s doctor, without imposition of a fee.
Here are three of the seven lawful reasons for an eviction from a mobile home park:
- Conduct which is a substantial annoyance to other residents. The burden of proof is substantial and solely on management. Statements from the annoyed residents affected must be presented in court.
- Failure to comply with reasonable park rule. (after 7 day notice was issued to resident). The burden of proof is substantial and solely on management.
- Nonpayment of rent, including utility charges and fees. (after 3 day notice was delivered to resident and notification to lien holder, junior lien holder and registered owner if different from homeowner.)