Effective tenant screening can often ensure that you or your Long Beach property management company place a tenant in your rental property who will pay rent on time and take good care of the home. However, you never know what will happen to a tenant and you may find yourself with someone who stops paying rent. It’s important to act quickly so you can protect your investment and your rental income.
Prepare Your Documents
Make sure that you have everything documented. If you ultimately decide to pursue an eviction, you’ll need a copy of your lease and payment records that show when your tenant stopped paying rent. The tenant should know when rent is due and what the consequences are for not paying on time.
Pay or Quit
If you continue to have trouble getting the rent from your tenant, or your attempts to get in contract are not successful, serve the tenant with a Three Day Notice to Pay or Quit. This is a legal document that gives the tenant three days to catch up with the rent payment or to vacate the property. You need to make sure this notice is filled out completely and correctly, otherwise your entire timeline will have to start all over again.
Assuming you do not receive the rent that is due within the three-day period, your next step is to go to court and file for an eviction. You need to be careful about taking any money from the tenant at this point, because if you accept a partial payment with a promise of a later payment, you are halting the process and if the tenant doesn’t pay as promised – you’ll have to start over. You aren’t permitted to change the locks, turn off the utilities or take any other illegal measures to try to get the tenant out of your property. The court will schedule an eviction hearing for you and your tenant.
The eviction process can be complicated and costly, especially if you are not experienced with it. The best thing you can do is to contact a property manager who knows how to effectively evict a nonpaying tenant. If you try to do it on your own, you risk making mistakes that can be costly. California law is extremely friendly to tenants, and you need to make sure you’re protected when you’re evicting someone.
If you have any questions about the eviction process, or you need help removing a tenant from your rental property, please contact us at CMC Realty & Property Management.