How to Evict a Tenant in California

evicted tenant

This post promises to guide you on how to evict a tenant in California.

The eviction process may differ in other locations which means that the California eviction process may not work in other locations.

Feel free to share the location in the comment and someone who knows better in that location will share the process so you can know how it is done in your location.

Since this targeted at landlords in California, let’s get straight into it.

No landlord wishes for a troublesome tenant that will require that you go through the eviction process to regain access to your property.

These things just happen.

So when they happen what do you do?

As landlords, we often have tenants that are well-mannered.

They are prompt with their rent renewals/payments.

They keep the property in good order and adhere to all the rules and regulations binding all the tenants.

There are also tenants who seemed to have a close relationship with the devil.

They don’t mind whether or not their rent is due.

They constitute a nuisance in the house and disturbs other tenants in most cases.

When you have difficult tenants, things can get so bad that you have no choice but to consider eviction.

While the eviction process is similar across the United States, it differs in California.

According to California law, landlords are required to go through the court proceedings if at any point they wish to evict tenants from their house.

The entire process is time-consuming, leaves room for errors.

Should desire to hire a legal practitioner, this can be costly.

We hope that this information will assist you in avoiding the need for a legal practitioner.


Here is how to Evict a Tenant in California

There are basically 6 steps to getting this done and all of the steps will be outlined in this post.

— Be sure you have a valid reason for evicting your tenant

You cannot just wake up one morning issue an eviction notice to a tenant without a valid reason.

A tenant in California can be evicted for any of the reasons listed below:

  1. Failure to pay their rent
  2. The tenant breaks one or more of the rental agreement’s terms.
  3. The tenant causes harm to the property, which reduces the worth of the property.
  4. Neighbors become irritated by the tenant.
  5. The property is being misused by the tenant by using it for commercial purposes as against the initial agreement.
  6. After the lease expires, the tenant fails to quit the premises.

— Provide the tenant with an eviction notice

If the reason for eviction is nonpayment of rent, you should issue a 3-day pay or quit notice to the tenant.

The tenant is officially notified that they have three days to pay the unpaid rent.

If they don’t pay, then you can go ahead with the eviction processes.

You must physically present the eviction notice to the tenant, or leave it on the ground near him/her if they refuse to accept it.

You can also leave a copy on the renter’s door and mail a copy of the pay or quit notice to the tenant.

— Wait for the tenant to rectify the situation

Depending on the type of notice you’ve served, you’ll need to give it some time to expire.

You must give the tenant three days to pay if you have served a pay or quit notice.

If the renter has remained on the premises after the lease has expired, you must wait 30 days before you can file a lawsuit.

— File an unlawful detainer action

If the tenant does not react to your notice within the time limit, launch an unlawful detainer action.

This is a formal court complaint that requires the landlord to fill out two (often three) forms:

The Civil Case Cover Sheet and the Unlawful Detainer Complaint must be filed with the courthouse in the county where the rental property is located.

If a person who is not specified on the rental agreement is living in the apartment and you need to evict them as well, use the Prejudgment Claim of Right of Possession.

Because these documents contain a lot of legal jargon and accuracy is crucial, you may choose to hire a lawyer or contact a website that makes legal paperwork.

At the very least, do your research and double-check your forms before sending them to the courts.

— Serve the tenant

The complaint and summons must be delivered to the tenant.

File proof of service with the court once the tenant has been served.

The tenant has five business days to respond to the lawsuit after he or she has been served.

— Complete the court process

The tenant has the option of responding to the complaints, contesting the sufficiency of the notice received or contesting the method of service.

You can request a default judgment from the court if the tenant does not respond within five days of being served.

You’ll have to show that you followed the steps in the eviction process exactly.

The judge will then issue you a Writ of Possession if your evidence is satisfactory.

This paperwork can be taken to the Sheriff’s office.

The Sheriff usually has three to fifteen days to serve the Writ on the tenant.

The tenant has five days to depart the premises after being served.

The Sheriff will return within six to fifteen days after the notice has expired to forcefully remove the tenants.

It is at that point, that the landlord can change the house locks.

If the tenant responds to the complaint, a trial date is scheduled, which is usually within ten to twenty days of the tenant’s response.

The judge will then have the opportunity to hear both parties’ arguments.

Bring all of your violation records, notices, and the lease contract to court.

A Writ of Possession will be issued to you if the court decides in your favor.

Then follow the steps outlined in the previous paragraph.

If the judge rules in favor of the tenant, you will be given “leave to amend.”

This is a second chance to show that you have a strong argument.

If you lose a second time, you should consult an attorney.

— Store the tenant’s belongings

tenants belongings

If the tenant leaves any of his or her possessions behind, look into the county’s local laws.

Some leases compel landlords to store the possessions for a specific period of time, while others allow the landlord to sell or dispose the items.

The eviction process has never been easy, and California’s is possibly the most difficult of all.

Because hiring a lawyer can be costly, we hope that this article was helpful in teaching you how to evict a tenant in California.