Your first experience evicting a tenant can be scary, frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive if you do not know what you are doing. The good news is that the process does not have to be that way. If you hire an attorney then you can have all of the work taken care of for you. They will fill out the paperwork the correct way for you, go to court for you, serve your tenant, go back to court for you if necessary. The downside to using an attorney is that they do not come cheap. You will be looking at paying the attorney anywhere from $500-$1200, maybe even more if the tenant chooses to fight back in court. The attorney fees are on top of what you are already going to pay to file for the unlawful detainer, writ of possession fee, and sheriff’s eviction which is going to total around $400 already.
Over the years, I have had the unfortunate experience of evicting a few tenants. In that time I have never had to retain an attorney to evict tenants and I have done all of my own paperwork. The reason I was able to successfully evict tenants and properly fill out all of my own paperwork without the services of an attorney is because I used the California Landlord’s Law Book. The author, David Brown, is an actual attorney and has worked on hundreds of cases involving landlord/tenant disputes. The book walks you step by step, from beginning to end through the eviction process. The book has samples of every form that you must fill out starting with the 3 day pay rent or quit notice, to every one of the detailed documents required by the court. Each form is explained and the author goes line by line and tells you how to fill each form out, which option to select, which checkbox to check, how many copies to make, etc. Without this book I would have either had to hire an attorney, or spent weeks or maybe even months of extra time trying to figure out the eviction process. I would highly recommend this book if you are a landlord. Even if you have not had to evict someone yet, if you are a landlord for long enough eventually you will probably have to evict one of your tenants. Also, there are many other issues discussed in the book suck as how to obtain a money judgment. You can find the book and more information here.