Eviction: When it’s time to say good bye
by Connor Schlecht
Evicting a tenant is one of the most challenging tasks property managers face. Before starting the eviction process, make sure you have a trustworthy attorney. In order for an eviction to be successful, certain criteria must be met.
First, there must be firm legal grounds upon which the tenant is being evicted. These can include:
· Failure to pay rent
· Damage to the property
· Violation of rental contract
· Using the property for illegal purposes
If the tenant is on a month-to-month lease, they can be evicted by serving the appropriate notice.
California law prohibits landlords from using “self-help measures” such as physically locking the tenant out of the property or cutting off utility services. If these methods are reported, the tenant can sue for damages at a cost up to $100 each day that the methods were used.
To begin the physical eviction process, a notice needs to be served. Each notice is different depending on the reasons for eviction. If a tenant is being evicted for failure to pay rent or a correctable breach of the lease, they must be served with a three-day notice first, so they may have reasonable time to remedy the situation.
Tenants on a month-to-month contract can be evicted by simply serving them a 30-day notice, unless they have lived in the unit for over a year. If they have, a 60-day notice is required.
If the notice expires before the tenant mends the reason for eviction, the owner may move forward and file the proper legal documents with the court for an Unlawful Detainer Complaint. The tenant must also be served with the complaint and the court summons. These cannot be served through mail however, and must be delivered in person to the defendant via a legal process server.
If the tenant does not file a “response” within the next five business days, the owner can request a default judgment after which a court date will be set and the owner must provide the judge with enough evidence that the process was done correctly and the tenant defaulted. However, if the tenant does respond, a court date will be scheduled and each side will have two opportunities to present their evidence against each other. After which judgment will be made.
If the court rules in the owners favor, they will issue a Writ of Possession which will give the San Diego Sheriff the power to lock the tenant out of the property if they do not vacate within five days. The court may also order the tenant to pay unpaid rent, attorney fees, or a maximum of $600 penalty.
Before starting the process make sure that you have all the right reasons and the right back up. Never take issues into your own hands no matter how egregious the tenants actions have been. Its better to do it the right way than be stuck with an even bigger problem.
Do you have tenants that haven’t paid their rent? Tell us your story in the comments below and expect a response from our community.