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Dirk Potter


Dirk Potter headshot image

Dirk Potter


Mr. Potter obtained his law degree from the University of California, Davis in 1982 and  was admitted to the California State Bar in December 1982.  Mr. Potter obtained a degree in Political Science from  California State University, Chico, graduating with honors in 1979.  Prior to attending California State University, Chico he obtained an AA degree at Butte College.

Mr. Potter has practiced law in Chico, California since 1982.  He served as President of the Butte County Bar Association in 1999 and is a Past-President of the North Valley Property Owners Association and the Greater Chico Kiwanis.  He has served as an adjunct professor of Business Law at California State University, Chico since 1983.  Mr. Potter has also taught at Cal Northern School of Law since 2000, teaching Administrative Law, Employment Law and Contracts.

Mr. Potter's practice is devoted to Landlord-Tenant Law and conservatorship and probate matters.

Mr. Potter is married and has three adult children.

Lockout and Unlawful Detainer FAQs

The Butte County Sheriff’s Department has advised Mr. Potter of the following policies and procedures regarding tenant evictions in Butte County:

    1.  All evictions take place on Wednesday.  A Notice of Eviction is posted on the premises the Thursday preceding the eviction.  The Sheriff’s Department will contact this office on the Tuesday morning preceding the eviction to advise me of the scheduled time for the eviction.  I will contact you as soon as I hear from the sheriff to advise you of the scheduled time for eviction.  It is a good idea to plan on being on-site 15-20 minutes early.

    2.  At the eviction it will be necessary for either you or a personal representative to be present at the house or apartment.  A deputy sheriff will meet you at the premises and will remove any tenants that might be present.  The deputy will arrive in a marked patrol car and will not be able to wait past the scheduled eviction time.  Failure to meet the deputy at the scheduled time will result in a re-posting fee of $58.00 and may result in a delay of up to two (2) weeks.

    3.  The person meeting the deputy sheriff must have a key to the premises or have made arrangements to have a locksmith present.  It is important that you wait for the deputy to arrive before you enter the premises. 

    4.  If the tenant should vacate the premises prior to the date scheduled please let me know and I will contact the sheriff’s office.  They have requested 24 hours notice, if possible.  Once the Notice of Eviction is posted the preceding Thursday the sheriff will not refund their fee.

    5.  You may allow a tenant access to remove personal property after you have regained legal possession of the property.  Any access should be set forth in writing, signed by both you and the tenant and should have restricted hours, not overnight.  Do not accept any money from a tenant for allowing access because, by doing so, you may be creating another tenancy.

6.     There are very strict legal requirements regarding the disposition of tenant personal property that is left on the premises after an eviction.  My experience is that most tenants will remove their personal property themselves and they will often wait until the last minute to do so.  If you do find personal property left on the premises after you have taken possession, you should contact this office so that we can discuss the procedures you will need to follow in order to avoid any liability for failure to legally dispose of a tenant’s personal property.

7.  Please remember that you are required to provide the tenant with an itemization of their security deposit within twenty-one (21) days after vacating the premises.  California law requires you to include copies of invoices for any repairs or maintenance performed for which you are charging the tenant.  Failure to provide the security deposit itemization could result in having to return the entire deposit to the tenant.

All services for unlawful detainer actions will be billed at the rate of $250.00 per hour.  What I bill for is my time spent in conferring with clients, performing legal research, making court appearances, etc.  You should be aware that time I spend talking with you, the tenant or the tenant=s representative is billable time.  While it is difficult to say in advance what the total fee will be for an eviction, my experience has shown the following:

PREPARATION AND SERVICE OF NOTICE(S): Generally, most notices can be prepared and served for $125.00

UNCONTESTED EVICTIONS: Generally, an uncontested eviction will generally require one hour of work plus costs.  

CONTESTED EVICTIONS:   The time necessary to prosecute a contested unlawful detainer action will vary with the efforts asserted by a tenant and/or his or her attorney to delay the eviction.  Generally, but not always, this amounts to two to three (2-3) hours plus court costs.  I will do my best to provide you with an estimate of the attorneys’ fees as the matter proceeds.

COLLECTION ON JUDGMENT: Once a Judgment is obtained I will consult with you to determine the most economical way for you to collect on your Judgment.



Superior Court Filing Fee                                                        $215.00

Process Server (per defendant)                                              $  39.00
**Fee may vary with the number of attempts and
     location of the property

Writ of Possession                                                                 $  15.00

Sheriff=s Fee for eviction                                                       $125.00

Application for Order to Post Summons                                   $  20.00

  The following outlines the basic time frame and procedures involved in an eviction.  Please understand that each case is different but I think the information noted below will give you a good idea of the process.

    1.  Once the Complaint for Unlawful Detainer is filed my process server will try and serve the tenant as soon as possible. Tenants generally know they are being evicted and will often try and avoid service.  If a tenant cannot be served within 7-10 days I can request a court order allowing the Complaint to be posted on the premises.  It generally takes 5-7 days to obtain the court order and the court charges a fee of $20.00 for requesting a posting order.

    2.  Once the tenant is served, the tenant has 5 court days to file a response.  The time is extended to 15 days if the tenant is served by leaving the papers with someone else or if the service is made by posting as noted above.

    3.  If the tenant does not file a response, I can request a clerk’s judgment for possession.  This will result in a Judgment for Possession and issuance of a Writ of Possession directing the sheriff to evict the tenant.  It takes 2-3 days to obtain the appropriate papers from the court clerk.  Once I obtain the Writ of Possession, I have a courier deliver it to the sheriff.  Writs must be received by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday in order for an eviction to take place on the following Wednesday; in Butte County, evictions are only done on Wednesdays.  If the tenant does not file a response, the entire process generally takes 25-30 days depending on the time needed to obtain service on the tenant, the method of service and getting the papers to the sheriff by that office’s deadline.

    4.  If the tenant files a response (Answer), I will immediately request a court date.  By law, the trial must be held within 21 days of the request.  Once the trial is complete, the process is the same as outlined in paragraph 3 above.   If the tenant does file a response, the entire process generally takes 30-45 days depending on the time needed to obtain service on the tenant, the method of service and getting the papers to the sheriff by that office’s deadline.

    5.  When I send the papers to the sheriff for the eviction I will send you a copy of the transmittal letter as well as a letter similar to this one that outlines the procedures for the eviction itself.

    Please feel free to call me if you have any questions regarding the above. 

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