Tenants’ eviction can be a complicated process, but with the help of a profession, it does not have to be like that. It involves some legal housing procedures that must be followed before sending the tenants from your apartments. The eviction process in California is straightforward meaning that you have to be keen with the paperwork ensuring that you do not leave any room for error.
Which are the necessary steps of evicting tenants lawfully?
Determine the tenant’s eviction legal grounds
The first step of evicting a tenant is to know the legal bases of evicting them. For example, in California, you can evict the tenant if;
- Fails to pay rent
- If the tenant is becoming a nuisance to other people around the apartment
- If the tenant commits property destruction
- If the tenant commits illegal acts on the property
You have to ensure that the tenant has engaged in any of these unlawful actions and notify them about it. Note that if the reason is something that the tenant can fix, then you can give them a second chance to do the right thing. Take an example of a situation where the reason is due to failure to pay rent. You can discuss the issue among yourselves, and if s/he agrees to pay the rent within the agreed time, then you can postpone the eviction.
You cannot evict a tenant if you have not served him/her with a notice. Most tenants try to avoid this, but fortunately, there are numerous ways of serving them with the notice. You can download free California eviction notices from reputable sites depending on the reason why you want to evict the tenant. There are different ways of serving the notice to the tenants which include giving the tenant personally and do it in the presence of the witness, leave a copy with another person, post the notice on the rental property or go through a lawyer.
Filing an unlawful detainer lawsuit
Another crucial step of eviction involves legal paperwork. This step can be complex, and you may need the help of a professional to help you in preparation of court paperwork. The best thing to do is hiring an attorney or go for a document preparer, and after filing the complaint, the court summons the tenant.
Give the tenant time to vacate
After filing for the complaint and presenting the case before the court, the tenant is given five days to respond to the eviction complaint or move out. Most are the cases when the tenants try to fight back claiming that the landlord mistreated them, but in some cases, the tenant will merely file a response.
Request a hearing date
If the tenant does not file a complaint, then the process can go on without a court trial. However, in the case of a charge, you will have to request for a trial date. The trial is mostly scheduled within 10 to 20 days after filing the request. You will then attend the court hearing and note that in this case, you should prepare evidence to show that you never mistreated the tenants as they claim. The tenant will also need to support their claim. The judge then makes a ruling which will give you the way forward.
If the ruling shows that the tenant was evicted wrongfully, you may be required to repay hi/her for the damages done. If the ruling favors you, the tenant has to leave the property.
Schedule move out
This is the last step of eviction. If the judge rules in your favor, s/he will sign a document that ends the tenant’s right to be on your property. The court clerk can issue a writ of possessions which is then handed to the constable or sheriff who will then serve it to the tenant giving him/her a notice to vacate. The notice may give them about five days for preparation, and after its expiration, the sheriff accompanied by the landlord has the right to remove the tenant from the property physically, and the landlord can change the lock.
Tenants’ eviction can be a money and time-consuming process if done wrong. A minor mistake could cost you a lot including your reputation. This is a business like any other, and you must, therefore, do everything right. Gather as much information as you can about the process eviction and with these steps, you are good to go.