Frequently Asked Questions

Unlawful Detainer- FAQs

1. How does the landlord give notice to the tenant?

The landlord has to serve the notice on the tenant or tenants property. The landlord can do it him or herself, or s/he can ask a friend to do it. The landlord can also hire a process server. The person who serves the notice must be at least 18 years old.
What are the 3 ways to serve the notice:

  • Personal service: The landlord or someone else gives the notice directly to the tenant in person.
  • Substitute service: If the tenant isn’t home, the landlord can leave the notice with someone else at least 18 who is at the house AND then mail a second copy to the tenant at the property.


2. What does the landlord do after giving notice to the tenant?

  • Wait until the notice period is up to see if the tenant does what the notice asks within the time allowed. If the tenant does not comply, the landlord can file an unlawful detainer in court to evict the tenant and collect back rent.
  • If the tenant does what the notice requires (like, pay the back rent in full), then the landlord cannot file an unlawful detainer.


3. How do I count the days in the notice period?

The first day is the day after the notice is served. Then count every day on the calendar, including weekends and holidays. If the last day of the notice period falls on a holiday or weekend, then the notice period ends the next work day.

If the landlord doesn’t serve the notice in person (like, if s/he leaves it with someone else or “nail and mails” it), some judges will give the tenant 5 more days.

Also, if the landlord doesn’t serve the notice in person and has to mail a second copy, the landlord has to make sure that s/he doesn’t start counting until the day after s/he mails the notice.

If the landlord doesn’t wait to file the eviction in court until the notice runs out, s/he will lose the case.


4. Does the landlord have to list everyone who lives in the rental unit as a Defendant?

Yes, the landlord must try to list the names of all adults living at the rental unit. This will make it easier to enforce the judgment if the landlord wins.


5. How long does the tenant have to respond after being served the unlawful detainer court papers?

If the tenant was served in person, the tenant has 5 days to respond. Weekends are counted (court holidays are not counted), but the 5th day must be a work day. So if the five days run out on a Saturday or Sunday, the tenant has until the end of the day on Monday to file a response.

If the tenant was served by substitute service or “post and mail”, the tenant has 15 days after the date the server mailed the court papers to file a response. The date of mailing is the postmark date.


6. How does the landlord find out if the tenant filed a response?

When a defendant (the tenant) files a response, s/he needs to send the landlord a copy of it. She/he will send it to the address the landlord put on the Complaint. The landlord can also go to the courthouse and look up the case.


7. What does the landlord do if the tenant doesn’t respond in time?

First, the landlord must make sure that the tenant’s time to respond is over.

Then, the landlord must ask the court to make an order in his/her favor. This is called a “default judgment” and it means the tenant won’t be able to fight the case in court.


8. What if the tenant responds?

If the tenant files and serves the landlord with an Answer, the landlord must file a Request to Set Case for Trial at the clerk’s office.

The landlord also has to serve the tenant by mail with a copy of the Request and have the server fill out the Proof of Service on the back of the Request.

In about a week, the court clerk will mail the landlord and the tenant information with the exact date, time and location of the trial. The trial will take place within 20 days.

If the tenant doesn’t agree with the information in the landlord’s Request, s/he may also file and serve the landlord with a Counter-Request.


Loan Modification FAQs

1. What is a loan modfication?

This is when your lender agrees to make a temporary and/or permanent change to your existing home loan that results in an affordable payment so you can avoid foreclosure and stay in your home. The loan modification may involve a lower interest rate, a longer term or a reduction and/or deferment in the principle balance.

Can my late charges and fees be included in the loan modification or do I have to pay those first? Per HUD, the accrued late charges should be waived by your lender at the time of the loan modification-this ruling varies depending on your type of loan. ALWAYS ask for a complete accounting and breakdown of all fees and penalties from your lender-this is your legal right-some fees and penalties are prohibited.


2. Can my bank require an interior inspection of my home?

Yes, your lender can conduct a physical review of your property to ascertain it’s current condition.


3. How do I find out if I qualify for a loan modification?

The #1 criteria your lender will look for is proof of your ability to afford the new modified loan payment now and in the future. You need to supply your lender with proof of your income, along with a complete and accurate financial statement that details your income, expenses and assets.

What if I am not currently late on my payments-can I still ask for a loan modification? Yes, most lenders will now accept loan modification applications from borrowers who foresee a problem continuing to make their monthly mortgage payments. It is recommended to that you contact your lender as soon as possible to start the loan modification process.


4. What is an acceptable Hardship situation?

While each homeowner’s situation is unique, generally the lenders consider divorce/separation, death of spouse or co borrower, illness, job relocation, military service, medical bills to be acceptable reasons to consider a loan modification. A compelling hardship letter included in your loan modification application package is very important to explain to your lender the circumstances that caused your delinquency and how you plan to rectify the situation.


5. Does a loan modification STOP FORECLOSURE?

Yes, while the loan modification is in process the foreclosure is postponed. When you work with your lender to find a loan workout solution, your loan is brought current and the foreclosure process is halted.

What about my missed payments-can they be added back into my loan? Yes, generally your missed payments can be added to the new loan balance and then spread out over the term so you can then afford the new loan payment.
Personal Injury FAQs


6. Under what circumstance am I able to recover damages as a result of an accident in CA?

To recover damages as a result of an accident or medical malpractice in California you must have suffered an injury to your person or property as the result of someone else’s negligence. In other words, the person or company who caused the harm must be at fault for your accident.


7. If I was injured in an accident that was from the fault of someone else, how are my damages calculated?

Damages in a California personal injury case consist of three primary categories: medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering (almost always the largest component). In cases where the plaintiff’s injury is such that he/she must be retrained for a new job, the costs associated with the retraining are also recoverable. This money is intended to restore your loss.


8. What do you mean by personal injury? What sorts of cases does this include?

“Personal injury” is a broad term that means any kind of accident that leads to bodily injury. Our lawyers have great familiarity with the insurance companies’ injury attorneys and insurance adjusters and have developed a reputation with them as personal injury attorneys who will ethically and professionally fight the insurance companies at every turn (a reputation we would not have if our lawyers spread themselves too thin handling all kinds of different cases).


9. What is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and do I have it?

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage applies in two general situations: (1) Uninsured: the at-fault driver has no liability insurance, and (2) Underinsured: where the at-fault driver has insufficient liability insurance limits (at-fault driver’s policy limits are lower than the limits of your uninsured motorist coverage). Essentially uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is insurance coverage that covers your accident just as your liability insurance provides compensation for the people that you might injure through careless driving. This coverage typically extends to family members who live with you and anyone who is injured in your vehicle.


10. How much is my case worth?

Predicting the trial value of any personal injury case is almost impossible. There are many factors that can affect the value of a case. Your attorney can only give you a very general idea of the value of your case based on cases we have handled with similar injuries and will not be able to predict the specific amount you will receive. That said, our lawyers generally are able to give our clients a settlement range that they can reasonably expect after our lawyers have reviewed the client’s personal injury case.


Immigration Law FAQs

1. What are some factors that are considered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in granting an individual immigration status?

Whether the applicant has an immediate relative who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.

Whether the applicant has a permanent employment opportunity in the U.S., and whether that employment fits under one of the five eligible employment categories.

Whether the applicant is making a capital investment in the U.S. that meets certain dollar thresholds, and that either creates or saves a specified number of jobs.

Whether the applicant qualifies for refugee status as an individual who suffers or fears persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political view, or membership in a certain group in his or her country of origin.


2. Can a deportation or removal order be appealed?

Yes. The alien has 30 days to appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration (BIA). If the BIA decides against the alien, the matter can be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Finally, if the Court of Appeals also finds against the alien, the matter can be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.


3. Under what circumstance will a foreign spouse’s permanent resident status in the U.S. be conditional?

A spouse’s permanent resident status will be conditional if it is based on a marriage that was less than two years old from the day the permanent resident status was granted. To remove the conditions, the spouse must establish that the purpose of the marriage was not to evade the U.S. immigration laws.


4. Under what circumstance will a foreign fiance(e), who has been admitted into the U.S. for the purpose of getting married, be required to leave the U.S?

If the marriage to the U.S. citizen who filed the petition to permit the fiance(e) into the U.S. does not take place within 90 days of entering the U.S., the fiance(e) will be required to leave the country.


5. Can an immigration lawyer ever help to speed up the resolution of an immigrant or nationality matter?

The sad truth is that very, very few matters involving U.S. Immigration or Nationality Law are ever resolved quickly. This is the truth regardless of whether or not a person is represented by an immigration lawyer. Except under the most extreme and very rarest of circumstances, to help get a matter resolved quickly is not a good reason to hire an immigration lawyer. As mentioned above, the two most important reasons why a person should be represented by an immigration lawyer are (1) to give the person much more power in dealing with the government and (2) to increase the probability that the final resolution of the case will be positive, — not to speed up the resolution of the matter.


6. When a person has a legal problem involving U.S. immigration law, under what circumstances should she or he obtain representation of an immigration lawyer?

Many people seem to believe that so-called “simple” matters never require the services of an immigration lawyer, that so-called “complicated” matters always require the services of an immigration lawyer, and that everything “in-between” can somehow be weighed on some kind of imaginary scale (which can indicate, perhaps, in shades of gray going from white to black) to determine whether the matter is “simple” or “complicated”.

Such persons often think a “simple” matter is something such as an application by a person who is visiting from abroad for an extension of time to remain in the U.S. Accordingly, such persons think that this type of a “simple” matter never requires the services of an immigration lawyer. Such persons also often think a “complicated” matter is something such as a deportation hearing in Immigration Court or an “employer-sponsored” application for permanent residence. Accordingly, such persons think that these types of “complicated” matters always require the services of an immigration lawyer.

It is very important to understand that, unfortunately, there are many separate government agencies and courts involved with Immigration or Nationality Law matters.


7. What are the residency requirements to apply for Naturalization of Citizenship?

In most cases, the applicant must: have continuously resided in the U.S. for five years after becoming a permanent resident (three years if married to a U.S. citizen); have spent at least half of the permanent residency time physically in the U.S.; and have lived for at least three months in the jurisdiction where the application will be filed.


8. Do I qualify for a waiver of the English test?

You may be eligible for a waiver of the English test if you meet certain requirements. There are two types of exemptions: your age and time as permanent resident, or medical reasons.

Waiver 1: If you are over 50 years old and have lived in the United States as a Permanent Resident for periods totaling at least 20 years (50/20 exemption); Or,

Waiver 2: If you are over 55 years old and have lived in the United States as a Permanent Resident for periods totaling at least 15 years (55/15 exemption); Or,

Waiver 3: If you are over 65 years old and have lived in the United States as a Permanent Resident for periods totaling at least 20 years; Or,

Waiver 4: If you have a physical or mental disability that prevents you from complying with the English and civics requirements.