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California Passes New Law Further Restricting Access to Eviction Actions

On September 13, 2016, Governor Brown signed AB 2819, which further restricts access to documents filed in eviction cases. The stated intent of the law is to strike a just balance between ensuring open access to public records and protecting the credit and reputation of innocent tenants. The new law amends California Civil Code section 1161.2 and creates a new code section, Code of Civil Procedure 1167.1.

Effective January 1, 2017, access to eviction files will be limited to the following: (a) a party to the action, including a party’s attorney. (b) a person who provides the clerk with the names of at least one plaintiff and one defendant and the address of the premises, including the apartment or unit number, if any, (c)  a resident of the premises who provides the clerk with the name of one of the parties or the case number and shows proof of residency, (d) a person by order of the court, which may be granted ex parte, on a showing of good cause, (e) any person by order of the court if judgment is entered for the plaintiff after trial more than 60 days since the filing of the complaint, and (g) any other person 60 days after the complaint has been filed if the plaintiff prevails in the action within 60 days of the filing of the complaint. If a default or default judgment is set aside more than 60 days after the complaint has been filed, this section shall apply as if the complaint had been filed on the date the default or default judgment is set aside.

Like its predecessor law enacted in 1991, AB 2819 not only protects innocent tenants, it also protects guilty tenants who have breached their lease. Even guilty tenants are entitled to have their eviction case sealed for minimum of 60 days or until the court enters judgment in favor of the landlord, whichever is longer. If no judgment is entered, the case remains sealed forever.

For further information, please contact Wallace, Richardson, Sontag & Le, LLP at (949) 748-3600; website: 

The law firm of Wallace, Richardson, Sontag & Le, LLP represents landlords, property management companies, institutional and private lenders, employers and insurance companies throughout the State of California in real estate, business and employment litigation. The information provided herein is for general interest only and should not be relied upon or construed as legal advice. 

© 2016 Wallace, Richardson, Sontag & Le, LLP.

September 20, 2016 | Landlord-Tenant Law |