Whether you own a building with two dozen one-bedroom apartments or rent out your mother’s former home to a family, working as a landlord can be a frustrating job. Regardless of whether it is your primary source of income or just a way to defray the costs of owning a property, your decision to rent out property leaves you with legal obligations to your tenants and liability in some situations.
For example, if your tenant fails to make rent payments, you will still need to pay your mortgage and set aside money for the tax and insurance on the property. Once your tenant falls behind by a month or two, you may want to evict them and replace them with a tenant that is capable of paying rent in full and on time.
Before you start those proceedings, there are a few things you need to know that some landlords in California do not understand about the eviction.
An eviction will cost you money
There is no such thing as a free day in court, even when you have a totally valid reason to be there. You will have to pay for the time in court, legal service to the tenant and your legal representation.
Trying to keep costs low by not having your own attorney could be a big mistake, especially if your tenant can test the eviction and tries to retain occupancy of the property. You want to earmark at least $1,000, maybe more, to cover the costs of the eviction in addition to whatever rental payments you did not receive and the damages you will have to pay to repair at the property.
Little mistakes can derail the process
You have to provide the tenant with written notice and comply with all California state laws to successfully evict a tenant from your unit. Even a tiny mistake, like giving inadequate notice before taking them to court, could force you to start the entire process over again. Obviously, needing to redo legal paperwork will only increase what you pay to remove a tenant.
An eviction does not guarantee payment
Unfortunately, just getting a tenant out of your unit does not ensure that you will get the money they owe you for past-due rent. You may have to file a separate lawsuit to recoup that unpaid rent and the cost of damages to the unit that the security deposit will not cover.
Learning the rules that govern California evictions can help landlords better protect themselves.