Most landlords own properties in order to create a steady stream of rental income. However, when tenants do not pay rent in a timely manner, it can lead to a loss of income and even financial difficulties for the landlord. When a tenant does not pay rent, the landlord may have the right to break the lease and evict the tenant. However, understanding tenant eviction in California and the associated laws can prove essential to ensuring that the landlord remains on the right side of the law and takes care of all key details in a timely manner.
Understanding the Law on Tenant Eviction in California
In order to file an eviction case in California, landlords may need to know several key things. First, landlords must file a Notice before they can start eviction proceedings. The Notice must lay out whatever problems the landlord has and give the tenant time to fix them.
Types of Eviction Notices
Landlords can only issue a Notice or file for eviction under set circumstances.
- 3-day Notice to Quit: The tenant has failed to pay rent on time or has engaged in a serious lease violation.
- 15-day Notice to Quit: The tenant has failed to take care of COVID-19 rental debt.
- 30-Day Notice to Quit: The landlord wants to end the rental agreement under a month-to-month rental agreement that has lasted for less than one year.
- 60-Day Notice to Quit: The landlord wants to end the rental agreement and the tenant has been there for more than one year.
The Process for Tenant Eviction in California
The California tenant eviction process may take 30-45 days or more. It begins when you provide eviction notice forms to your tenant and ends when they must move out, according to the terms of the notice. You may need to:
- Give notice
- Start a court case
- Ask for a trial date or default judgment
- Go to trial
- Give the tenant time to move out, according to the judgment
Landlords can expect to go through the court system in order to get a tenant who refuses to fix a problem or leave the home to move out.
Legal Reasons for Tenant Eviction in California
Nonpayment of rent is one of the most common reasons for tenant eviction. In California, landlords can file a Notice to Quit when the tenant does not pay rent on time. The tenant must then pay rent within 3 days of receiving the notice or plan to move out. A landlord may also have the right to evict a tenant for other reasons, including:
- Breaking the terms of the lease. For example, the landlord could evict a tenant who has a pet in a building that is pet-free.
- Using the home for illegal activities.
- Damaging the property in a way that reduces its value.
- Consistently disturbing other tenants, even after being asked to stop.
Preparing to Evict a Tenant in California
A landlord who plans to evict a tenant may need to take several important steps.
- Serve the proper notice to tenants.
- Understand the notice period. The length of time a tenant has to move out may depend on the type of notice and the infraction committed by the tenant.
- Gather evidence about the tenant’s wrongdoing, in case the eviction goes to court.
Filing a Tenant Eviction Lawsuit
In California, filing for eviction can cost between $3,000 and $4,000.
You will need to fill out the relevant eviction forms, including:
- The Summons: form SUM-130
- The Complaint: form UD-100
- The Plaintiff’s Cover Sheet: form UD-101
- The Civil Case Cover Sheet: form CM-010
Then, you will need to file the summons and complaint with the local court system and pay the initial fees. Afterward, you will need to serve the forms and provide proof that the tenant received them. Finally, you will need to get a trial date or ask for a default judgment.Making sure that you have all the right paperwork on hand and that you have handled each step in the process correctly can prove essential. Let SueYa help with the details of your tenant eviction to ensure it goes smoothly.
The Eviction Trial
At the eviction trial, you will have the chance to present testimony and evidence to the court. You may show photos or receipts of damage to the property, late rent payment receipts, and any other evidence that establishes why the tenant deserves eviction. The judge may then ask you to attempt to reach a resolution, or may issue a verdict. Often, that may include a verdict that the tenant owes you money or will need to move out.
After winning an eviction case, you will need to enforce the eviction. The sheriff will give the tenant up to 5 days to move out after the eviction is finalized. After that, the sheriff will remove the tenants from the home and lock them out.
Get Help with the Paperwork for a Pending Eviction
If you need to evict a tenant, having the right paperwork in place can help make it easier to establish your case. Contact SueYa to learn more about how we can help.