This Legislative Watch deals with unlawful weapons and ammunition use and how it relates to tenants.

Effective January 1, 2008

Offenses involving unlawful weapons and ammunition and UD actions

Added by AB 1013:

Civil Code §3485

These unlawful detainer (UD) action rules apply in the following cities only:

  • Los Angeles;
  • Long Beach;
  • San Diego;
  • Oakland; and
  • Sacramento.

Unlawful weapons in these UD actions include:

  • a firearm;
  • ammunition;
  • an assault weapon;
  • a .50 BMG rifle; or
  • any tear gas weapon.

These UD actions pertain to unlawful weapons in the following situations:

  • illegal use;
  • manufacture or causing to be manufactured;
  • importation;
  • possession, for sale or use;
  • sale; or
  • furnishing or giving away.

A city prosecutor may file an action for unlawful detainer on behalf of the people based on a law enforcement report on any person who commits an offense involving unlawful weapons or ammunition.

Before the prosecutor may file the action, he must give 30-day written notice, by personal delivery or by mail, to the offending tenant and the owner of the property about the pending action against the offending tenant, and require the owner to file an unlawful detainer action against the offending tenant. This notice must include documentation of the tenant’s offense.

The prosecutor’s notice to the offending tenant must also include the following on the bottom of the front page of the notice, in at least 14-point bold type:

Notice to Tenant: This notice is not a notice of eviction. However, you should know that an eviction action may soon be filed in court against you for an unlawful weapons or ammunition activity, as described above. You should call (insert name and telephone number of the city prosecutor pursuing the action) or a legal assistance provider to stop the eviction action if any of the following is applicable:

(i) You are not the person named in this notice.

(ii) The person named in the notice does not live with you.

(iii) The person named in the notice has permanently moved.

(iv) You do not know the person named in the notice.

(v) You have 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 help if you are eligible.

Within 30 days of the mailing of the written notice, the landlord must provide the city prosecutor with:

  • all information relevant to the unlawful detainer case; or
  • a written explanation of any safety-related reasons for noncompliance and an assignment allowing the city prosecutor to bring an unlawful detainer action against the tenant.

The assignment by the landlord of the cause of action (UD) to the city prosecutor will be on a form provided by the city prosecutor and may contain a provision for costs related to the action, not to exceed $600.

The landlord is still responsible for all other rights and duties of a landlord if the city prosecutor accepts the assignment. These duties include:

  • handling the tenant’s personal property; and
  • issuing, delivering, and executing a writ of possession.

If the landlord fails to bring or diligently prosecute the unlawful detainer action, the city prosecutor may file and prosecute the action as a defendant. This action then has precedence over any proceeding brought about by the owner. If the tenant is found guilty of unlawful detainer, the landlord is responsible for costs related to the action in the form of a lien against the landlord’s real estate. Costs for providing testimony of a peace officer may be waived by the local government.

The local governments of the affected cities may adopt, enforce, duplicate or supplement this section.

These rules do not prevent a tenant from obtaining relief against forfeiture of his tenancy.

A partial eviction order may be given under this section permanently barring any person from the property who commits an offense involving unlawful weapons or ammunition. The remaining tenants may be prohibited from allowing any person barred in this way from entering the property.

This section will remain in effect until January 1, 2010, when it will be repealed unless it is deleted or extended before that date.

Illegal weapons and ammunition now a nuisance

Amended by AB 1013:

Code of Civil Procedure §1161

A person committing an offense involving unlawful possession or use of illegal weapons or ammunition on real property may now be deemed as a nuisance.