(a) To abate the nuisance caused by illegal conduct involving a controlled substance purpose on real property, the city prosecutor or city attorney may file, in the name of the people, an action for unlawful detainer against any person who is in violation of the nuisance or illegal purpose provisions of subdivision 4 of Section 1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure, with respect to that controlled substance purpose. In filing this action, which shall be based upon an arrest report by a law enforcement agency, reporting an offense committed on the property and documented by the observations of a police officer, the city prosecutor or city attorney shall use the procedures set forth in Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 1159) of Title 3 of Part 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure, except that in cases filed under this section, the following also shall apply:
(1) (A) Prior to filing an action pursuant to this section, the city prosecutor or city attorney shall give 30 calendar days’ written notice to the owner, requiring the owner to file an action for the removal of the person who is in violation of the nuisance or illegal purpose provisions of subdivision 4 of Section 1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure with respect to a controlled substance purpose.
(B) This notice shall include sufficient documentation establishing a violation of the nuisance or illegal purpose provisions of subdivision 4 of Section 1161 of the Code of Civil Procedure and an advisement to the owner of the assignment provision contained in subparagraph (D). The notice shall be served upon the owner and the tenant in accordance with subdivision (e).
(C) The notice to the tenant shall, in at least 14-point bold type, meet the following requirements:
(i) The notice shall contain the following language:
(Name of tenant)
(Address of tenant)
Re: Civil Code Section 3486
Dear (name of tenant):
This letter is to inform you that an eviction action may soon be filed in court against you for suspected drug activity. According to state law, Civil Code Section 3486 provides for eviction of persons engaging in such conduct, as described below.
(Name of police department) records indicate that you, (name of arrestee), were arrested on (date) for violations of (list violations) on (address of property).
A letter has been sent to the property owner(s) advising of your arrest and the requirements of state law, as well as the landlord’s option to assign the unlawful detainer action to the (name of city attorney or prosecutor’s office).
A list of legal assistance providers is provided below. Please note, this list is not exclusive and is provided for your information only; the (name of city attorney or prosecutor’s office) does not endorse or recommend any of the listed agencies.
(Name of deputy city attorney or city prosecutor)
Deputy City (Attorney or Prosecutor)
Notice to Tenant: This notice is not a notice of eviction. You should call (name of the city attorney or prosecutor pursuing the action) at (telephone number) or a legal assistance provider to stop the eviction action if any of the following is applicable:
(1) You are not the person named in this notice.
(2) The person named in the notice does not live with you.
(3) The person named in the notice has permanently moved.
(4) You do not know the person named in the notice.
(5) You want to request that only the person involved in the nuisance be evicted, allowing the other residents to stay.
(6) You have any other legal defense or legal reason to stop the eviction action.
A list of legal assistance providers is attached to this notice. Some provide free legal assistance if you are eligible.”
(ii) The notice shall be provided to the tenant in English and, as translated, in all of the languages identified in subdivision (a) of Section 1632 of the Civil Code.
(D) The owner shall, within 30 calendar days of the mailing of the written notice, either provide the city prosecutor or city attorney with all relevant information pertaining to the unlawful detainer case, or provide a written explanation setting forth any safety-related reasons for noncompliance, and an assignment to the city prosecutor or city attorney of the right to bring an unlawful detainer action against the tenant.
(E) The assignment shall be on a form provided by the city prosecutor or city attorney and may contain a provision for costs of investigation, discovery, and reasonable attorney’s fees, in an amount not to exceed six hundred dollars ($600). An owner shall only be required to pay the costs or fees upon acceptance of the assignment and the filing of the action for unlawful detainer by the city prosecutor or city attorney.
(F) If the city prosecutor or city attorney accepts the assignment of the right of the owner to bring the unlawful detainer action, the owner shall retain all other rights and duties, including the handling of the tenant’s personal property, following issuance of the writ of possession and its delivery to and execution by the appropriate agency.
(2) Upon the failure of the owner to file an action pursuant to this section, or to respond to the city prosecutor or city attorney as provided in paragraph (1), or having filed an action, if the owner fails to prosecute it diligently and in good faith, the city prosecutor or city attorney may file and prosecute the action, and join the owner as a defendant in the action. This action shall have precedence over any similar proceeding thereafter brought by the owner, or to one previously brought by the owner and not prosecuted diligently and in good faith. Service of the summons and complaint upon the defendant owner shall be in accordance with Sections 415.10, 415.20, 415.30, 415.40, and 415.50 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(3) If a jury or court finds the defendant tenant guilty of unlawful detainer in a case filed pursuant to paragraph (2), the city prosecutor or city attorney may be awarded costs, including the costs of investigation and discovery and reasonable attorney’s fees. These costs shall be assessed against the defendant owner, to whom notice was directed pursuant to paragraph (1), and once an abstract of judgment is recorded, it shall constitute a lien on the subject real property.
(4) This section does not prevent a local governing body from adopting and enforcing laws, consistent with this article, relating to drug abatement. If local laws duplicate or supplement this section, this section shall be construed as providing alternative remedies and not preempting the field.
(5) This section does not prevent a tenant from receiving relief against a forfeiture of a lease pursuant to Section 1179 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
(b) In any proceeding brought under this section, the court may, upon a showing of good cause, issue a partial eviction ordering the removal of any person, including, but not limited to, members of the tenant’s household if the court finds that the person has engaged in the activities described in subdivision (a). Persons removed pursuant to this section may be permanently barred from returning to or reentering any portion of the entire premises. The court may further order as an express condition of the tenancy that the remaining tenants shall not give permission to or invite any person who has been removed pursuant to this subdivision to return to or reenter any portion of the entire premises.
(c) For the purposes of this section, “controlled substance purpose” means the manufacture, cultivation, importation into the state, transportation, possession, possession for sale, sale, furnishing, administering, or giving away, or providing a place to use or fortification of a place involving, cocaine, phencyclidine, heroin, methamphetamine, or any other controlled substance, in a violation of subdivision (a) of Section 11350, Section 11351, 11351.5, 11352, or 11359, subdivision (a) of Section 11360, or Section 11366, 11366.6, 11377, 11378, 11378.5, 11379, 11379.5, 11379.6, or 11383 of the Health and Safety Code.
(d) Notwithstanding subdivision (b) of Section 68097.2 of the Government Code, a public entity may waive all or part of the costs incurred in furnishing the testimony of a peace officer in an unlawful detainer action brought pursuant to this section.
(e) The notice and documentation described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) shall be given in writing and may be given either by personal delivery or by deposit in the United States mail in a sealed envelope, postage prepaid, addressed to the owner at the address known to the public entity giving the notice, or as shown on the last equalized assessment roll, if not known. Separate notice of not less than 30 calendar days and documentation shall be provided to the tenant in accordance with this subdivision. Service by mail shall be deemed to be completed at the time of deposit in the United States mail. Proof of giving the notice may be made by a declaration signed under penalty of perjury by any employee of the public entity which shows service in conformity with this section.
(f) In an unlawful detainer action filed pursuant to this section, the court shall make one of the following orders:
(1) If the grounds for an eviction have not been established pursuant to this section, the court shall dismiss, without prejudice, the unlawful detainer action.
(2) If the grounds for an eviction have been established pursuant to this section, the court shall do either of the following:
(A) Order that the tenant and all occupants be immediately evicted from the property.
(B) Dismiss the unlawful detainer action with or without prejudice or stay execution of an eviction order for a reasonable length of time if the tenant establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the immediate eviction would pose an extreme hardship to the tenant and that this hardship outweighs the health, safety, or welfare of the neighbors or surrounding community. However, the court shall not find an extreme hardship solely on the basis of an economic hardship or the financial inability of the tenant to pay for and secure other housing or lodging accommodations.
(3) If the grounds for a partial eviction have been established pursuant to subdivision (b), the court shall order that those persons be immediately removed and barred from the property, but the court shall not order the tenancy be terminated.
(g) This section applies only in the County of Los Angeles to a court having jurisdiction over unlawful detainer cases involving real property situated in the City of Los Angeles.
(h) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2014, only if the City of Los Angeles has regularly reported to the California Research Bureau as required by this section as it read during the period from January 1, 2010, to January 1, 2014, inclusive. For purposes of this section, the City of Los Angeles shall be deemed to have complied with this reporting requirement if the 2013 report to the Legislature by the California Research Bureau indicates that the City of Los Angeles has regularly reported to the bureau.
(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 303, Sec. 33. (AB 731) Effective January 1, 2016.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018