San Diego Esquire represents landlords located throughout California. We provide legal document preparation services to California landlords and comprehensive legal representation to landlords located in San Diego County (ex – court appearances). We understand how stressful it can be to evict a tenant. Most landlords resort to evictions as a last resort.
How to Evict a Tenant in California
The first step to evict a tenant in California is to establish legal grounds to do so. The most common reasons to evict a tenant include failure to pay rent, damage to the rental property, or violation of the lease or rental agreement. California law also allows a landlord to evict a tenant if the lease is up and the tenant refuses to vacate the premises or the landlord terminates the rental agreement for a valid reason and the tenant refuses to leave. A landlord must provide a tenant with sufficient notice before commencing eviction proceedings against her.
Provide Tenant with Notice
Before a landlord starts an unlawful detainer action, she must provide the tenant with proper written notice. The notice should cite the reason for the immediate removal of the tenant from the unit. A tenant who has resided in the rental unit less than one year must be provided with a 30-day written notice. A tenant who has resided in the rental for more than one year must receive a 60-day written notice. A landlord cannot file an unlawful detainer action until the notice period expires.
Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit Overview
An unlawful detainer lawsuit is an eviction lawsuit. Most unlawful detainer lawsuits are resolved in two months.
Despite common beliefs, most landlords do not need to hire an attorney to handle an unlawful detainer matter. An attorney should be hired if the lawsuit is highly contested and thousands of dollars are at stake. Do not be foolish and spend more money in attorney fees in comparison to the outstanding rent or damages owed. Most California tenants do not have extensive assets in which a judgment can be collected against. Obtaining attorney fees in a judgment does not guarantee you will be able to enforce/collect against the judgment. Be smart and wise with your time and money when filing an unlawful detainer action. You may want to hire an attorney if the tenant works for you and lives in one of your rentals. In addition, if there is a foreclosure on the rental unit consider hiring an attorney.
To begin the process, the landlord must draft a complaint and summons with the court. The court will file the document and the landlord will have a specified amount of time to serve a copy of the filed documents on the tenant. The tenant can either respond to the complaint or refuse to do so. If the tenant does not respond, the landlord can request for a default judgment to be entered against the tenant. If the tenant responds, the landlord will have to gather evidence of the tenant’s wrongdoing and monies owed in anticipation of going to trial. If the landlord is successful, the tenant will have 5 days to vacate the premises once the sheriff enforces the Writ of Execution.
Landlord Legal Services
Our legal services include the following:
- Drafting initial Tenant Notice to Vacate
- Drafting legal documents to file unlawful detainer Complaint, Request to Set Trial or Default Judgment, and Writ of Execution.
We provide attorney consulting services to landlords and help guide them through the unlawful detainer process in California. Review our legal document preparation services to get started. If you are based in San Diego County, contact us if you are interested in comprehensive legal representation.