What happens if I move out before my court date for an unlawful detainer?

I was served an unlawful detainer complaint. I filed an answer to defend my case. I have not received a court date yet but should shortly. I found an apartment that is reasonable and plan on moving out. Do I need to notify the court once I turn over possession? Will the case be dropped? Also, I plan on paying any rent owed during my stay. Should I hold on to any money and make arrangements to pay the attorney representing the Landlord?

Posted in Landlord Tenant Law.


  1. It’s always better to move out prior to the unlawful detainer being filed against you. Go ahead & move, notify the owner/landlord (not the court) when you’re out and RETURN THE KEYS. (You have possession until they receive them in-hand.) The owner should cancel the action at this point to avoid any further charges. Remember to clean, take pictures & possibly do a walk-thru with the landlord when you’re done. The owner has to send you a statement of all charges within a time limit set by law (usually 21-30 days), so you have some time to save up to pay them back. Good luck!

  2. It is best to notify the court when you vacate. The case may not be dropped. Most landlords proceed anyway because they cannot take you to collections without a judgment against you. You have to check with the courts and the landlord on that one. It would be best to pay as soon as you have it. Make sure you get receipts for proof in case they try to deny receipt.

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