The Eviction Process: What to Know as a Whittier, CA Landlord
There are a few compelling reasons to evict a resident in Whittier. When your residents violate the lease and refuse to correct their actions, you can evict them. If you discover that illegal activities are occurring inside the home or the residents are causing property damage, you can evict them.
However, the most common reason to evict a resident is nonpayment of rent. If your resident is behind in rental payments and no other method of rent collection has worked, it’s important that you move quickly to remove that resident and regain possession. In California, an eviction is called an Unlawful Detainer, and it’s a lawsuit you must pursue through the courts. You cannot change the locks or turn off the utilities on your resident, even if they haven’t paid in months.
Today, we’re providing a general overview of the California eviction process so you’ll know what to do if you need to remove a resident.
Serve a Three Day Notice
When rent has not been paid and your resident has not responded to your calls or reminders, the first thing you want to do is serve a Three-Day Notice to Pay or Quit. This is a written notice that tells the residents rent has not been paid, and they have three days to either catch up with the rental payment or move out of the property. Your notice should include the amount that’s due but make sure you’re not including late fees on the notice. And notify the resident that non-compliance will result in an eviction lawsuit. Serve this notice to your resident in person or attach it to the front door of the property in a conspicuous place where it won’t be missed.
File a Complaint in Court
You’ll need to wait three full business days before you do anything else. Most residents will pay rent within this period because they won’t want to deal with an eviction or incur additional late fees on the rent they already owe you. Sometimes, they’ll contact you to try and set up a payment arrangement or ask if they can have a few more days to pay. You can handle this in any way that you want. It’s okay to agree to a payment arrangement or a later payment, but don’t stop the eviction process until you have the rent collected. Otherwise, you’ll have to start over.
If the three days come and go without a payment, the next step is to go to court and file for eviction. We recommend that you get help from an attorney at this point. While you can go through the court process on your own, a single mistake will set you back and cost you additional time and money. Eviction attorneys are worth their fees. They understand the court process and they know the judges. This experience can help you get a quicker and more favorable end result.
The clerk will have a Summons and Complaint served to the residents, and they will have an opportunity to respond. A court date is set, and you’ll need to prepare to make your case for eviction.
Obtaining a Writ of Possession
Once the hearing date arrives, anything can happen. It’s possible your residents won’t show up and you’ll get an automatic judgment. If they do show up, the judge may order you to try to work something out, or you may each be given the opportunity to share your argument in court. Ultimately, if you can demonstrate that the resident has not paid rent, you will win possession of your property back. The judge will give the residents a specific number of days to move out, and you’ll be granted a Writ of Possession. If the tenants do not move out on their own, you’ll need to contact the sheriff to enforce the Writ and physically remove them.
The Whittier eviction process isn’t terribly complex, but it does have a lot of details and nuances that must be handled properly. If you have any questions about tenant evictions, please contact us at LS Property Management. We’d be happy to help you.