Eviction is not a pleasant process for anyone. Hopefully, you have done a thorough job of screening your tenants and there’s an unlikely chance that you’ll ever have to evict a renter. But, unexpected things happen all the time, and your otherwise good tenant might suddenly stop paying rent or violate your lease. You’ll need to be prepared to take action.
The most common reason for eviction is nonpayment of rent. Today, we’re sharing the steps that need to be taken when you’re removing a tenant from your property. It’s important to remain legally compliant at all times. Even the slightest mistake could get your case thrown out, and you’ll have to waste more time and money starting over. It’s also important to know that you cannot do anything drastic like change the locks or turn off the utilities. Follow the eviction process mandated by California law.
Check Your Lease Agreement
Refresh your understanding of rent collection policies in your lease agreement before you take any action. If rent is due on the first of the month and considered late on the sixth of the month, you cannot take any action until the grace period has expired. Your lease should include the consequences of not paying rent. When you don’t receive your rental payment and you cannot get in touch with your tenant to discuss when you can expect the money, you need to begin the legal process of removing the tenant. This is important even if you’re willing to work things out and accept a late payment. Your timing is important, and the longer you wait, the more rent you stand to lose.
Serve a Three Day Notice
You cannot file an eviction lawsuit without first filing a Three Day Notice. This notice will advise your tenant that rent is late and either they need to move out of the property or pay the overdue rent within three days. Usually, you’ll receive the rent within this timeframe if the tenant intends to stay. Make sure you deliver the notice in person, or post it to the door. Document the delivery of this notice and make sure to keep a copy of it because if this case does go to court, the judge will want to verify that it was served.
Beginning Court Proceedings
If the tenant does not respond to your Three Day Notice, you’ll need to file for an unlawful detainer at your local courthouse. At this point, it’s always a good idea to get help from an experienced attorney. While you’re certainly able to manage your own eviction, California laws are so specific that we recommend you get legal help, especially if you’re not working with a property manager.
Once the tenant is served with the paperwork, you’ll need to go to court and make your case. Assuming the judge rules in your favor, you’ll then need to obtain a Writ of Possession and ask for help from the sheriff in physically removing the tenant. Hopefully, your tenants will move out on their own and avoid the spectacle of the sheriff throwing them out of the property.
We always advise you to work with your tenants to try and avoid eviction. If they are not willing to talk about the situation, however, you will have no choice but to evict.
If you need any help or have any questions, please contact us at Bell Properties, Inc. We’d be happy to help you avoid or manage the LA and Orange County eviction process.