In California, a landlord can terminate a tenancy early and evict a tenant for various reasons, including failure to pay rent areas, violation of tenancy agreements, deterioration of the property, antisocial behaviors, and use of the property for illegal purposes. California has complex eviction procedures; every landlord must follow the exact procedures or risk losing their lawsuit. This blog provides an overview of the required steps when evicting a tenant in California.
Steps to Take When Enforcing a Judgment for Eviction in California
According to state laws, evictions or forcing a tenant out of your property is time-consuming and complex. The easiest and legal way for a landlord to evict a renter is by filing a lawsuit and enforcing an eviction, which is how SueYa can help. We do the hard work so you can focus on your business. To provide some clarity on the actual process, following is a step-by-step guide to enforcing a judgment for eviction in California.
Give a written notice: You must give the tenant a written notice before you start an eviction court case. The most common type of notice is a 3-day notice to pay rent arrears or quit when a renter has fallen behind on rent. You can also give a 3-day notice to cure or quit when the tenant has breached some rental agreements.
Start court case: If the tenant fails to meet the requirements you asked for in the notice by the specified deadline, you can file forms in the court to initiate the eviction case.
Ask for a trial date: If the tenant asks for a court form to give the side of their story, ask for a trial date. If they don’t, ask the judge to give a judgment without trial.
Go to trial: the judge will hear the arguments from both parties and give a ruling.
Issuing of Writ of Possession: If the judge decides you have the right to evict the tenant, they will sign a Writ of Possession to authorize the sheriff to remove the tenant from your home. The judge can also order your tenant to pay back rent, penalties, damages, and attorney’s fees.
Fill out the court forms: Once the judge gives a favorable ruling, fill out relevant court forms to initiate the process of getting the tenant to move out and collect any costs. The following are the forms to fill out:
- Judgment – Unlawful Detainer (Form UD-110): This form gives you the right to get your property back and collect any money the tenant owes you, including rent, penalties, damages, and attorney’s fees. The form must accurately capture the judge’s orders. The judge must sign the form before you file with the clerk.
- Complete Writ of Execution (Form EJ-130): This form empowers the sheriff to lock out the tenant of your home. It also permits the sheriff to collect any money the tenant owes you. The sheriff can collect the money from the tenant’s paycheck or bank. Complete Item 25 on Page 2 of the form and take it to the clerk’s office to have the Writ of Execution and the clerk issue (stamp).
Take the writ to the sheriff’s office: Once you have the duly completed Writ of Execution, take it to the sheriff’s office for enforcement.
What is the Writ of Possession and the CA Eviction Process?
As mentioned earlier, if the judge rules in your favor at the trial, the court issues a Writ of Possession. The Writ of Possession gives the sheriff the power to lock out the tenant of your home if the tenant doesn’t vacate voluntarily within five days.
The Role of the Sheriff during the Enforcement of a Judgment
After receiving the Writ of Possession, the sheriff visits the property and posts a 5-Day Notice To Vacate on the front door. If the renter fails to vacate within the specified period, the sheriff will return and physically remove the tenant from the property. Depending on the judge’s orders, the sheriff may collect any money the tenant owes you from their bank or paycheck. The sheriff typically has three to 15 days to post the notice on the property.
The Dos and Don’ts of Evicting a Tenant in California
- Utilize the court system and sheriff’s office rather than a ‘self-help eviction’. Self-help eviction may result in costly lawsuits and penalties. Tenants can sue you for damages or hit you with an injunction to prohibit any additional violations.
- Give proper notice, and have documentation on everything. The notice must be in writing and include the date the tenancy will be terminated, detailed reasons for the eviction, and that you intend to start a court process if the tenant doesn’t move within the stipulated deadline.
- If the tenant leaves personal items behind, research the local ordinances in the county or city where the property is located. Some municipalities require landlords to issue tenants notice to collect their items. Other municipalities allow landlords to dispose of or sell the items.
- Don’t force your tenants out in any way. The sheriff is the only one with court permission to do so
- Don’t replace your locks before the sheriff evicts the tenant
- It is illegal to remove or throw out tenants’ possession
- Don’t cut off utilities such as electricity, water, gas
- Don’t harass or intimidate your tenant
- Don’t get into physical altercations with the tenant
Looking to File Your Eviction and Enforce a Judgment on One Online Platform?
Your online legal resource can provide access to lawsuit filing, eviction filing, and judgment enforcement. In 2021, nearly 36,000 California households got eviction notices through legal means. California landlords must adhere to strict procedures to evict a tenant if they want to be successful. If they don’t, they may be guilty of illegally evicting or harassing a renter. It is always advisable to apply for an eviction order from the court before evicting a tenant. If you need help to successfully evict a tenant from your property, whether commercial or residential, SueYa makes it affordable and convenient. We work on your behalf to get started filing a lawsuit, begin the process of evicting a tenant lawfully, or enforcing an existing judgment.