Evicting a tenant is one task all landlords hope they never have to do, but need to be prepared for in order to protect themselves and their investment. It starts right after rent is due. Your tenant has not paid you for rent on the due date and has not notified you that they will be late. You try calling your tenant and they dont answer and they dont return your calls. You stop by the rental and no one comes to the door. If you happen to run into your tenant you get the run around, “I was just about to call you, but I dont have the rent money right now. Can I pay you next week?” If your tenants have always paid on time maybe you will give them the benefit of doubt and wait for them to pay. Or maybe you have seen this coming for a while and realize that your tenant has no intentions on paying you. The problem is, the longer you give your tenant to pay you, the longer you will have to wait to take action and start the eviction process. If you are a California landlord who has never gone through the eviction process then you may not be aware that evicting a tenant requires you to take legal action, you can not take matters into your own hands because it is illegal and can cause you both legal and financial problems. You cannot demand that your tenant pay rent or move out. You can not cut off their utilities or disrupt their lives in any way. In order to evict your tenant you will have to go through the legal system and in the state of California the legal system heavily favors the tenant, not the landlord.
Most landlords in the state of California are not full-time landlords. Many of them only have a rental property because they got caught up in the real estate bust and are too upside down on their property to sell, so they are forced to rent it. Every bit of their rental income is needed to cover the cost of the mortgage on their rental property. Missing just one month of rent can put the landlord seriously behind. Coming up with an additional $1000 to pay an attorney for legal services to evict a tenant is not feasible for many landlords. I know that it is not for me. You can evict a tenant on your own without the help of an attorney but you will need to understand the eviction process in California.
The best thing I ever did was get attorney David Brown’s book titled The California Landlord’s Law Book: Evictions. You can get it here. It will walk you step by step through everything you need to do in order to successfully evict your tenant. It has all of the forms you need such as the 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit right in the book and also on a CD accompanying the book. It is worth every penny because it will help you avoid mistakes, and every mistake you make is going to cost you time and ultimately rent money.
I am going to discuss each of the steps you will go through to evict your tenant. The steps are as follows:
- 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit
- File Unlawful Detainer Complaint
- Serve Tenant with Summons and Complaint
- Request Default Judgment
- Sheriff’s Eviction
Next Step>> 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit