FVAP’s client lived with her boyfriend who was abusive. Survivor requested a DVRO with a move out order, which would have excluded her boyfriend from their shared rental unit. The trial court granted the DVRO, but denied the move-out order stating it was up to the landlord, not the court, to decide who got to stay in the unit. Survivor appealed, and the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment. The Court of Appeal reversed because a trial court has the power to order a restrained party to move out of a shared rental unit and a landlord does not have the authority to force just one tenant out of a shared rental unit.
FVAP thinks this is an important case because it is the first case explaining trial courts’ authority to grant move-out orders when parties live together in a rental unit. Specifically, it plainly states that courts may grant move out orders excluding the restrained party from the shared rented home and may make orders regarding lease and utility payments. If published, this case may encourage more trial courts to grant move out orders, allowing more survivors to stay housed and avoid homelessness.
It also reinforces tenant protections against “self-help” evictions, which is when a landlord kicks out a tenant without going through the court eviction process. By explaining that a landlord cannot change the unit’s lock to lock out a tenant without a move-out order and by explaining the landlord’s obligation to go through the eviction process to regain possession of a premises, this opinion reinforces existing laws against self-help evictions.