The Unlawful Detainer Workshop at Central Justice Center — A Vital Resource for Tenants Facing Eviction

Tenants who are served with an eviction lawsuit (unlawful detainer or UD) are often at a loss about how to respond in their case.  The Unlawful Detainer (UD) Workshop, conducted through a partnership between The Superior Court of California and the Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC), was created to address this issue.

Since the UD process is an expedited one with the need for swift response and timely filing critical, the workshop is offered in Santa Ana at the Central Justice Center three days every week — Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 9:30 AM except on court holidays.   During the workshop, a LASOC attorney and volunteers provide tenants with legal information about the eviction process and assistance with preparing the required forms they must complete to file an answer with the court.

The purpose of the workshop is to educate tenants so they will be better informed and prepared for their court date.  In most instances, tenants have no familiarity with the process when they come to the workshop and need the most basic guidance.  As such, the workshop content includes a video to offer participants an overview about eviction cases and the UD process.  After viewing the video, tenants are guided through the UD answer form to respond to the allegations in the landlord’s complaint and to raise legal defenses.  The LASOC attorney does not provide legal advice and any tenants seeking it are referred to the LASOC hotline and the Orange County Bar Association.

Five years after its inception, the UD Workshop continues to be popular with the court as the tenants who complete it have shown to be better set to appear before the judge.  It has become a vital resource for Orange County tenants with over 280 pro per litigants attending the workshop in 2018.  Tenants often are afraid, anxious and stressed when facing evictions, and so the information provided at the workshop can be empowering as they learn about their options.

Additionally, LASOC also offers a UD Workshop at the courthouse in the city of Norwalk for tenants who live in our southeast Los Angeles County service area.  The Norwalk courthouse workshop is held on Mondays and Thursdays at 1 PM, except on court holidays.

The UD Workshop is an exemplary illustration of how the court and a legal services non-profit can partner together to the greater benefit of all interested parties.

 

The UD Workshop is made possible through funding from the State Bar of California Equal Access Fund Partnership Grants.