If you’re going to evict a tenant, it’s likely due to the fact that the tenant isn’t paying rent, and you need to regain possession of the property so you can rent it out to a tenant who will pay rent. There are other good reasons to evict, but this is by far the most common one.
There is a lot of talk in California about just cause evictions, so make sure you know whether your property is subject to those laws now or in the future.
Today, we’re walking you through the California eviction process so you know what to expect and how to prepare.
Serve a Three Day Notice
When rent has not been paid and any grace period has expired, you need to serve your tenants with a Three Day Notice to Pay or Quit. This notifies the tenants that they have three days to catch up with their rental payment or move out of the property. You have to allow for three full business days, and after that time period has passed, you’re permitted to file an unlawful detainer lawsuit in the court system.
Usually, your tenants will catch up with the rent within the three days because they don’t want the eviction to go any further. Sometimes, they’ll contact you and ask for extra time. There’s nothing wrong with agreeing to a payment arrangement, but make sure you put it in writing. We also recommend that you continue with the eviction process even if you’re expecting a payment in a week or two. This protects you and the process if your tenants default on their agreement or don’t keep their promise.
Unlawful Detainer Action
After you file for the unlawful detainer, your tenants will be served a Summons and Complaint. They will have the opportunity to respond, and a court date will be set. Sometimes, the tenants don’t show up and you win your case by default. Sometimes, the judge orders you to mediation, where you and your tenant will have to agree on an outcome. Maybe they can put together a payment arrangement if they want to stay or maybe you can agree that they’ll be out in 10 days.
Writ of Possession
Assuming you are able to make your case and the court rules in your favor, you’ll receive a Writ of Possession. This is a court order which requires your tenants to move out in a specific number of days. If they do not vacate, you’ll need to take your Writ of Possession to the sheriff and have your tenants physically removed. Be ready to change the locks.
While you can manage the eviction process yourself as a landlord, we always recommend you get professional help. One single and unintentional mistake can get the whole case thrown out, and then you’ll have to start over. That costs you valuable time and money. Don’t leave a nonpaying tenant in place for longer than necessary. Get help from an attorney or a professional Healdsburg property manager.
We can help. If your tenant is causing problems or you need to begin an eviction, contact us at Healdsburg Property Management.