Evicting a tenant can be a confusing, long-winded process. However, doing some initial research about the eviction process will help you to get through the eviction as smoothly as possible.
In California, the only way to evict a tenant is by filing a lawsuit in which the landlord is known as the ‘plaintiff’ and the tenant is known as the ‘defendant’. Luckily, the state gives priority to eviction cases over any other cases besides criminal ones, so landlords need not wait too long for a decision. As frustrated as you might be as a landlord, you must refrain from evicting a tenant by using physical measures (e.g: locking them out).
Bear in mind that you can only legally evict a tenant if they have done something to breach your tenancy agreement!
Here are the different reasons you could file for an eviction:
Your tenant has failed to pay rent
Your tenant has damaged the property and reduced its value
Your tenant has violated the terms of the rental contract and refuses to fix issues
Your tenant has stayed for longer than the lease specified
Your tenant is using the property for an unlawful purpose (such as using, making, selling or possessing illegal drugs)
Your tenant is causing a significant disturbance to other tenants, despite being asked to stop
After deciding that you wish to evict your tenant, you need to serve them with an eviction notice. There are several things your eviction notice must contain:
Name, address, phone number and details of the person or institution which is due to receive the rent, and when they are available to receive the rent (if you are evicting the tenant due to issues with rent).
Date you demanded the action from the tenant
Name and address of the tenant
Total amount of rent due
A certificate to verify how you served the notice to the tenant
The landlord’s signature
Once this eviction notice has expired without any action from the tenant, you are free to create a lawsuit to instigate the eviction of your tenant.
Then, you will need to file all the relevant legal documents with the court, serve these to your tenant, and continue with the court process. If you are unsure of your obligations, consider hiring an attorney to help you through the process. If you follow the process properly, the case will move faster and you will lose out on fewer months of rent.
Written by Jack Vale