Evicting tenants in California can be complicated, mostly because the law is tenant-friendly, and a lot of tenants know it well. Knowing how to evict someone legally is critical. If you make even a simple mistake that seems meaningless, your eviction can be thrown out, and you’ll end up spending more time and money trying to remove a tenant who isn’t paying rent or following the terms of the lease. If you run into trouble or don’t understand something, get help from a property manager or an attorney immediately.
Send a Three Day Notice
Most tenants are evicted for nonpayment of rent. If you have a tenant who has not paid rent, send a notice that explains rent is overdue. The notice must state how much is owed, how to pay the overdue amount, and that repossession of the property will occur if the money is not paid. You need to sign and date this notice, and provide proof that it was delivered or mailed to your tenant. Then, the tenant has three days to catch up with rent or respond.
File an Unlawful Detainer
Evictions are expensive and stressful, so if your tenant contacts you and promises to pay by a certain date, you should probably negotiate what you can to ensure you get your rent paid and you don’t have to go through with the eviction. Keep the process moving, however. If you don’t have your rent after the three days, file an Unlawful Detainer in court. This is basically a lawsuit, and once the summons is served to the tenants, they will have five days to respond.
Going to Court
If the tenant responds or doesn’t move out, a court date will be set. Bring all the documentation you can to the court hearing, including the lease, an accounting document that shows what the tenant owes, and a copy of any notices or communication between you and the tenant. If you win the case, you’ll get your property back and the tenants will be told to move out.
If the tenants don’t move out on their own, the sheriff can come and remove them and allow you to change your locks. Then, you can begin preparing your rental property for the next tenant.
Don’t do anything that isn’t part of the legal process. You don’t want to change the locks before you go to court or cut off the utilities. Follow the court process and let an attorney handle it on your behalf.
If you need help with Long Beach property management or tenant eviction, please don’t hesitate to contact us at CMC Realty & Property Management.