The eviction process in California can be expensive and time-consuming, especially if you’re not sure how to navigate the court system and the legal requirements. We try to avoid eviction with excellent tenant communication and proactive tenant screening. Sometimes, eviction is inevitable, however, and you need to be prepared for it.
Step One: Contact Your Tenant Regarding the Rent
Your lease should stipulate when rent is due and when it’s considered late. When your tenant doesn’t pay on time, you should give them a call or send them a message. Let them know that you have not received the rent yet, and ask when you can expect it. If it’s a generally good tenant, it’s possible that your tenant simply forgot to pay on the due date. We like to start a conversation because we believe it leads to better outcomes. Your goal is always to get the rent paid – not to evict the tenant.
Step Two: Where are the Tenants?
If your tenants refuse to take your calls or answer your messages, you’ll need to continue trying to contact them. You also want to verify that your tenants are still living in the property. Once you know they have not vacated, continue your attempts at contact. Call a property manager if you’re having trouble. One of the advantages of working with a management company is that you don’t have to chase your tenants and demand the overdue rent. Your San Jose property manager will have a process in place.
Step Three: Serve Tenants a Three Day Notice
Don’t wait too long to serve your Three Day Notice to Pay or Quit. This is the official notice to the tenant that you will pursue an eviction if they don’t pay the rent or leave the property. After we serve the notice, we like to hand the entire file over to our eviction attorneys. The process can become complicated, and it’s easy to make a mistake. Having an attorney handle the courts and the judge is the best way to avoid problems and expensive errors.
Step Four: Getting the Property Back
Our attorneys go to court and obtain a judgment against the tenants for possession of the property to be returned to the landlord. After this ruling, the tenants will have a specific number of days to leave. Usually, they do. But, if they don’t move out in that timeframe, you’ll need to have the sheriff come and remove them. Their possessions will likely still be left behind, and you will be legally required to store them or to allow the tenants to remove them from the property. Try to work something out so you aren’t faced with large storage bills. Change the locks, and you have your property back.
Eviction is a tough thing for many landlords, but you have to do it when the tenants leave you no other options.
If you need help evicting a tenant in California or you’d like to talk about professional property management, please contact us at REC Rentals.