Legally Evict Tenants
Being a landlord in California comes with a range of legal responsibilities, including following the state’s eviction laws. There are many reasons why a landlord may need to evict a tenant, such as not paying rent or violating the terms of the lease agreement. However, eviction can be a complex process, and it’s important to ensure that it’s done legally and ethically. In this article, we’ll explore 5 ways that California landlords can legally evict tenants.
1. Serve a Notice
Before a landlord can file an eviction lawsuit, they must first serve a notice to the tenant. There are several types of notices, including:
- 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit: This notice is served when a tenant fails to pay rent on time.
- 3-Day Notice to Cure or Quit: This notice is served when a tenant violates a term of the lease agreement, such as having pets when they’re not allowed.
- 30-Day Notice to Quit: This notice is served when a tenant has lived in the rental unit for less than one year and the landlord doesn’t have a reason for eviction.
- 60-Day Notice to Quit: This notice is served when a tenant has lived in the rental unit for more than one year and the landlord doesn’t have a reason for eviction.
It’s essential to serve the correct type of notice and follow the proper procedures when doing so. Failure to do so could result in a delay or dismissal of the eviction lawsuit.
2. File an Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit
If the tenant doesn’t comply with the notice, the next step is to file an unlawful detainer lawsuit. This is a legal action that seeks to regain possession of the rental unit. The landlord must file the lawsuit in the county where the rental unit is located and pay a filing fee. The tenant has a certain number of days to respond to the lawsuit, and if they fail to do so, the landlord can obtain a default judgment.
3. Attend the Court Hearing
If the tenant responds to the lawsuit, there will be a court hearing. It’s essential for the landlord to attend this hearing and present evidence to support their case. The tenant will also have the opportunity to present their defense. The judge will make a decision based on the evidence presented.
4. Obtain a Writ of Possession
If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, they can obtain a writ of possession. This is a court order that allows the landlord to regain possession of the rental unit. The landlord must pay a fee to obtain the writ, and it’s served by a sheriff or marshal. The tenant has a certain number of days to vacate the rental unit, and if they fail to do so, the sheriff or marshal can physically remove them.
5. Follow the Law
Throughout the eviction process, it’s crucial for landlords to follow the law. This includes serving the correct notices, filing the lawsuit correctly, attending the court hearing, and obtaining the writ of possession legally. Failure to follow the law could result in delays or even penalties for the landlord.
Evicting a tenant can be a complicated and stressful process for landlords. However, by following the proper procedures and laws, it can be done legally and ethically. Serving the correct notice, filing the lawsuit, attending the hearing, obtaining the writ, and following the law are the 5 ways California landlords can legally evict tenants.
- Can a landlord evict a tenant without cause in California?
- Yes, a landlord can evict a tenant without cause in California by serving a 30-day or 60-day notice to quit.
- What happens if a landlord evicts a tenant illegally in California?
- If a landlord evicts a tenant illegally in California, they could face penalties and legal action. The tenant may also be entitled to damages, such as the return of their security deposit or compensation for lost wages if they had to take time off work to move.
- What is a writ of possession in California?
- A writ of possession is a court order that allows a landlord to regain possession of the rental unit after winning an eviction lawsuit. The landlord must pay a fee to obtain the writ, and it’s served by a sheriff or marshal. The tenant has a certain number of days to vacate the rental unit, and if they fail to do so, the sheriff or marshal can physically remove them.
- Can a landlord evict a tenant in California during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- Eviction laws in California were temporarily changed during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide protections for tenants who were unable to pay rent due to financial hardship related to the pandemic. However, these protections have now expired, and landlords can legally evict tenants for failure to pay rent.
- What should a California landlord do if a tenant refuses to leave after an eviction?
- If a tenant refuses to leave after an eviction in California, the landlord can obtain a writ of possession from the court. This allows them to have the sheriff or marshal physically remove the tenant from the rental unit. However, it’s important to follow the proper legal procedures throughout the eviction process to avoid any delays or penalties.