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How can I ensure I’m not illegally evicting a tenant?

Real estate in California is expensive. Whether residents plan to buy or rent, they have to come up with a lot of money to make it happen. Not surprisingly, many landlords in California often find that tenants cannot make the rent. Sometimes this is temporary, due to medical bills, a car accident or losing their jobs. However, when it becomes regular or a tenant lapses for months on end, you may feel compelled to take legal action via an eviction.

To the new landlord, an eviction seems simple enough. They may believe they can just throw the tenant out, fix the place up and start showing it to someone else. The seasoned landlord knows it is never this easy. And, when it is, you could risk putting the tenant out illegally, which may come back to haunt you. So, how do you ensure you are following proper procedure?

Forbes advises landlords to liken an eviction to a lawsuit. Landlords must follow due process and wait for a judge to file in favor of the eviction before taking any further action. There is no guarantee that this will happen. You have to show a breach of a lease term, that the tenant received proper notice to resolve the issue and that they failed to do so.

Note that failure to pay their rent on time is not the only breach of contract that may warrant an eviction notice. A few other acceptable reasons include the following:

  •          Causing damage to the property
  •          Illegally subletting or subleasing
  •          Threatening the safety of neighbors and even other tenants

If a judge does rule in your favor, the next step is working with law enforcement to remove the tenant and/or their belongings at the appointed time. Note that an eviction notice may not always be necessary. There are a few times when a tenant may recognize their position and leave the home voluntarily.

This article provides information on legal tenant evictions. It should not be misconstrued as or used in place of legal advice.