How to Enforce an Eviction Order in California 2023-08-15
California Eviction Laws: What Landlords and Tenants Need to Know About the Process

Eviction is the process you’ll need to follow if you wish to remove a tenant from your property. This usually becomes necessary when a lease violation occurs or the tenant fails to pay rent. You have the right to evict a tenant from the property if they do not adhere to the terms of the lease. A solid understanding of California eviction laws and due process can help ensure that you follow all the necessary steps to remove a tenant from your property. SueYa can help with every aspect of the eviction process, ensuring that you remain in compliance with California’s complex legal requirements.

Understanding California Eviction Laws

In California, before you can evict a tenant, you must start by serving the tenant with a 3-Day Notice of Eviction. During the 3-day notice period, tenants have the opportunity to correct the lease violation or catch up on rent. If the tenant does not comply with the notice, you will have to proceed with a court case to evict them, even if the eviction is due to a lease violation.

You can only legally evict a tenant by going through the court system and waiting for the court to have the sheriff carry out an eviction. You cannot force a tenant out of the property by changing the locks, removing the tenant’s property, or threatening them. The eviction process can take as much as 30-45 days. SueYa can help ensure that landlords understand the eviction requirements and that they carry them out legally.

Residential vs. Commercial Evictions

Commercial evictions often proceed faster than residential evictions, since there are more terms under which a commercial landlord can evict a tenant. However, commercial evictions can become complicated as well. 

Grounds for Eviction in California

There are several reasons a landlord can evict a tenant from a property in California: 

  • Non-payment of rent.
  • Violation of lease terms (things like having a pet in a pet-free building, for example).
  • Nuisance or illegal activity on the property.
  • Property damage.
  • An owner move-in eviction. This occurs when the owner plans to use the property as their primary residence.
  • Ellis Act evictions, which occur if the landlord intends to “go out of business” and stop renting properties.

If a tenant has not committed some type of violation and the landlord does not have other grounds for the eviction, the landlord may not have the right to remove the tenant from the property.

The Eviction Process Step-by-Step

Whether you need to evict a tenant from a commercial or residential property, the process can take time.

Written Notice

Before you can evict a tenant from a property, you must provide them with a 3-Day Notice. The California 3-Day Notice spells out any violations the tenant has committed, including failure to pay rent or violation of the lease terms. After you issue the notice, the tenant has the opportunity to correct the violation or get caught up on rent before you can move forward with the eviction.

Service of the Eviction Notice to the Tenant

To make the eviction legal, the landlord must serve the eviction notice to the tenant. It can be hand-delivered, delivered by certified mail, or delivered by a process server, depending on the landlord’s preferences. SueYa can assist with eviction notice delivery and get it in the hands of the tenant in a timely manner. 

The Tenant’s Rights and Options After Receiving an Eviction Notice

Once a tenant has received an eviction notice, the tenant has several options. First, the tenant can choose to fix any potential lease violation: removing unlawful pets, paying back rent, or ceasing any activity on the property that violates the lease or causes a nuisance. The tenant can also choose to contest the eviction notice with the court. Finally, the tenant can choose to vacate the property within the specified timeframe. 

Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit Filing

If the tenant does not remedy the lease violation or leave the property, the landlord can file an unlawful detainer lawsuit. This can either mean going to the court date or filing uncontested. How long it takes to go to court can depend on the backlog in the local court system. 

Judgment and Execution

Once the court issues a judgment, a sheriff can come out to execute the eviction, removing the tenant from the property and allowing landlords to decide what they want to do next with the property.

Tenant’s Rights and Protections

Tenants have the right to dispute an eviction via a variety of legal remedies, including providing evidence that they did not violate the terms of the lease. They may have the right to restraining orders and stays, in situations where the landlord has been found to have violated their rights. In some cases, the tenant may have the right to relocation assistance. 

Landlord’s Responsibilities and Legal Obligations

Landlords must:

  • Comply with fair housing laws, including ensuring that tenants live in a habitable property.
  • Return security deposits in accordance with the terms of the lease.
  • Avoid retaliating against the tenant.

Failure to comply with those terms can lead to legal repercussions for the landlord. 

Contact SueYa for Help with a California Eviction

Dealing with a California eviction can be incredibly complicated, whether you’re the landlord or the tenant. SueYa can help. Contact us today to learn more about the assistance we can provide in an eviction case.