Steve Duringer: Evictions Q&As

 eviction notice letter posted on front door of house

There are six people who are outstanding writers, they are students of Duane Gomer Education past and future, and I consider them all good friends.

Number 3 in our series is Steve Duringer.  A student years ago, he is now an Eviction Attorney in Southern California.  If I ever have an Eviction problem, he is my first and only call.  His company also specializes in Debt Collection.

Q:  I am a tenant, can you help me defend an eviction?

A:  No.  The Duringer Law Group is one of the very few, if not the only law firm that limits its practice to the representation of owners and managers of rental property exclusively.  Since we represent many landlords throughout Southern California, there is a high probability that we currently represent the owner or management company managing your apartments.  The vast majority of landlords are willing to discuss arrangements with you to work out any issues that you are now facing.  Try calling your landlord, or his attorney, be honest, try to reach a solution.  The last thing you want to do is play games with the system.  Odds are you will lose, have a judgment entered against you that will remain on your tenant profile and the credit bureaus for 10 years or longer.  It will be difficult, if not impossible to rent again, and you will have to pay the money back, along with the attorney fees and costs incurred by your landlord.  Before you go down that path, try and work it out.

Q:  I have a property in Southern California, how long does a typical eviction take?

A:  Unlawful Detainers, or evictions, have priority in the courts, and move faster than any other civil action.  The time line differs by court and by county.  The typical uncontested eviction handled by our firm, from filing of the complaint through lockout by the Sheriff, is 16 to 18 days.  Contested cases, those where the tenant files any answer or some other pleading, typically take 28 to 35 days.  These time lines are typical for Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties.  Los Angeles and San Diego courts generally require an extra 7 to 14 days.

Q:  What does a typical residential eviction cost?

A:  The typical uncontested residential unlawful detainer action filed in California runs about $655.00 to $745.00, depending on the county of filing.  This includes attorney fees, superior court filing fees, process server fees for one adult, and the necessary Sheriff fees.  Money judgments are an additional $85. About half of all our cases are uncontested, that is, no court appearance is necessary and the tenant does not challenge the eviction action.  In the event your matter is contested, a single court appearance will typically be necessary.  The majority of contested cases require just a single appearance.  The typical fee for a court or a trial appearance is $350.  Some tenants are in for a fight, and they file multiple motions and appearances to delay or challenge the pleadings.  These require aggressive opposition and additional court appearances.  They typical contested residential eviction in California runs approximately $1,105.00 to $1,165.00.

Additional costs would be incurred if additional occupants need to be names and served, or if the demand is over $10,000.00.  In the event multiple course appearances are required, our office bills a flat rate of $350.00 for most court appearances, provided that appearance does not exceed four hours.  Tenant bankruptcies, discovery and jury trials are rare and are generally billed on an hourly basis.  Please keep in mind, that some tenants spend a great deal of time and efforts trying to drag out and delay the eviction process.  In matters where delay tactics are used by the tenant, additional fees and costs will be incurred.

Additionally, as we have no control over the costs and fees charged by the California court system, these costs may change without prior notice.  Court and sheriff fees are usually adjusted in January of each year, and the figures above are current as of January 2015, but may change without notice as a result of the Superior court of the Sheriff altering their fee schedule.  Please contact our office to verify the current fees in effect.

Q:  Does your firm handle commercial cases as well?

A:  Yes.  Yes, the firm represents clients in both residential and commercial unlawful detainer matters.  The court process is identical.  Our fees for a commercial eviction are $350 plus costs in the uncontested matter.  Contested matters are billed similar to our residential cases, typically flat fee billing, $350 for a court appearance or a bench trial, etc.  Discovery, depositions, oppositions to motions, and jury trials are generally billed hourly.

Q:  What counties or courts does the Duringer Law Group handle?

A:  We routinely handle eviction actions in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties.  Our attorney, attorney services and process servers are in most every court in these counties every day.  In addition to these Southern California courts, we also represent clients throughout California by relying on our network of experienced attorney services and registered process servers.

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