Counsel, Advocacy & Representation for California Tenants

Tenants can decide their own fate.

If you have a problem with your landlord, you don’t have to live in fear of being evicted, but you do need to understand what the law says, and how it will be applied if you end up in court. That’s why it’s important to talk to a lawyer who specializes on tenants’ rights.

California Tenants have important rights, and they do not have to put up with oppressive landlords and unhealthy living conditions.

The legal protections that tenants enjoy include both substantive rights (because a tenancy is a property interest), and also procedural rights (because the Constitution guarantees due process).  Nonetheless, tenants must understand that legally speaking, they are in a more vulnerable position than they often suspect.

To fully benefit from the protections the law provides, many times tenants need a lawyer.

Whether you need to prepare for defending an eviction, or you need to assert your rights to decent housing, or because your landlord’s negligence has caused you harm, legal assistance is available.  Tenants do have rights, but they must take action to protect them.

Tenants' Rights Are Real, But They Are Often Ignored.

Even a small dispute with the landlord can become a critical threat to a tenant’s rights. When your relationship with the landlord goes sour, a tenant can quickly be exposed to harm. Being forced to leave your home because of an eviction brings drastic disruption to your life.  Finding a new place to live within a matter of days, moving expenses, changing schools for children, entanglement in the legal system, damage to your credit, time lost from work, and psychological stress are just some of the common consequences of an eviction, but they are not inevitable.

Tenants' Rights Are Fundamental Rights.

Tenants have a civil right to due process because a tenancy is a property right and a contract.  Protecting the decency and security of your home is not only a basic necessity, it is also constitutionally protected action . Everybody needs a place to live, and just because you pay rent does not mean your right to housing is any less important.  Your landlord does not have a legal right to simply make you move, or make your life miserable when you assert yourself.

San Diego Attorney Specializing in Eviction Defense & Tenants' Rights

Marc D. Whitham

Marc D. Whitham is a San Diego tenant rights lawyer who has devoted his career to representing tenants with all aspects of their legal needs. 

He has defended and advocated on behalf of thousands of tenants in defending  against eviction, fighting unlawful rent increases, recovering damages from negligent slumlords and unpermitted rentals.  He offers counsel and advocacy, and works closely with seasoned litigators to provide the most complete & tenacious representation for tenants facing trial.

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Don't Waste Time

When a tenant has a legal conflict with the landlord, there is often only a short period of time to act.  Under California law, landlords are usually required to give notice to tenants before they resort to legal action. However, most of these legally required notices give a tenant only three days to act.  When a tenant fails to act within the three days then the landlord can proceed to court.

Once an action to evict (also called unlawful detainer) is filed against a tenant in court, it can move very quickly.   Landlords enjoy a unique legal procedure, which is known as a summary proceeding.   Once a tenant is sued in court, and then served with an unlawful detainer summons, then he or she has only five days to respond.

If your landlord has sued you or is threatening to sue you, then you must act quickly. Hesitation and uncertainty can lead to a loss of money, loss of security and the loss of your home. Don’t wait.  Schedule an appointment for a consultation  immediately to discuss your case.

Don't go to Trial unprepared

Written notices demanding the payment of rent, notices that threaten the termination of your lease, accusations of illegal activity, and notices of changes in terms and conditions of a lease from a landlord or property manager are often the prelude to legal action.  They must be taken seriously.  It is critical for tenants to respond to notice from a landlord intelligently and prudently.

Before you agree to excessive rent increases, or allow the oppressive actions of the owner or management intimidate you, meet with a professional.

Information, early in time, is the key to success.  Often times becoming informed can help you to avoid being on defense.  If you are not able to avoid litigation, then consult with an attorney who stands with tenants and defends their rights.

Get Informed

If your situation is not a lawsuit in court, but rather a question, or a curiosity about what the law says, there are many places where you can find educational materials, and  every tenant should become familiar with the legal protections for tenants in California law.

Many times the answer to tenants’ legal questions are more complicated than they may first appear.  It’s important to be careful, and not to rely upon every piece of information posted online, or simply accept the advice of friends and neighbors.  Make sure the source of your legal advice is reliable and up to date.

Look around the website and see if we have information to help you.  If you have a question and you can’t find an answer,  click here to send us a comment.  An attorney that specializes in advocating for tenants will reply, and can direct you to the resources you need. 

Get Representation

If you have a situation that is more than a question, and are already having a dispute with your landlord, then information alone is often not enough to settle the matter to your advantage. What most renters need, but seldom have, is an attorney who knows the law, and the landlord’s duties under the law, and is not afraid to advocate for tenants.

Even the most informed tenants can find the court system overwhelming.  Defending against eviction on your own is more than just challenging.  Fort the unprepared and unrepresented it is an ordeal filled with traps.  Tenants who go to court without an attorney frequently enter into bad agreements and suffer humiliation at the hands of the landlord’s lawyers. Having an experienced attorney on your side will make a difference.