There are few things more frustrating for a landlord than a bad tenant. Whether you are dealing with a residential or commercial tenant, when they aren’t paying their rent or when they are violating provisions of the lease or rental agreement, it can be a difficult situation.
Perhaps the biggest problems for landlords in these situations comes from all the laws and regulations limiting the potential actions to protect their interests. It seems like tenants have all the protections under the law.
If you are a tenant, you need to be extremely careful to stay in compliance when seeking an eviction. These four principles will help:
- You need a good reason to evict a tenant.
Although you can seek to end a lease or rental agreement even for paying tenants, you cannot evict a tenant without good reason. According to the California Courts, a landlord can seek eviction for only the following reasons:
- Failure to pay rent on time
- Breaking the stipulations of the rental or lease agreement
- Damaging the property
- Becoming a nuisance to other tenants and neighbors
- Committing illegal actions on the premises
Without one of these reasons, you will need to forego the idea of eviction and seek some other means for removing the tenant.
- You need to give proper notice.
You cannot simply show up to your property and tell your tenants that their time is up. Once you have established one of the reasons above for eviction, you must deliver notice to the tenant. This notice is usually called the three days to pay or quit notice.
As the name suggests, the tenant then has three days to pay their back rent and resolve any other issues in their tenancy, or you will begin the eviction process.
- You need to be prepared for a hearing.
In many cases, tenants will oppose or dispute the eviction. When this happens, the case usually proceeds to an administrative hearing in which you will have to answer questions before a judge to establish your right to evict.
- Do not proceed without legal representation.
While you have the legal right to handle all of these eviction matters on your own, it is a bad idea. Each of the above principles contain nuances and complications. It is easy to make critical errors in the eviction process, errors that could result in legal sanctions or other serious consequences.
In August of 2020, California passed the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act, which ran through January 31, 2021. This law put new requirements on landlords, such as lowering rental payments in certain situations and delaying some eviction actions until February 1, 2021. Learn more about how SB 91 affects both landlords and tenants.
You should work with an experienced California real estate attorney who can protect your rights and walk you through the eviction process.