Owning a rental property is a great opportunity to earn extra money while also helping resolve a small portion of California’s rental housing crisis.
While there are many good things that go along with owning a rental property there are also some downsides. One such drawback is when you have a tenant who simply refuses to move out of your home.
The good news is that there are some things you can do.
California law states that you have a right to tell your tenant that they’re evicted when they’ve:
- Failed to pay their rent.
- When they do something that blatantly breaks the rental contract, such as having a dog in a no-pets property.
- The tenant has done so much damage to the property that it’s lowered the overall property value.
- The tenant is on the property when they break the law.
- The neighborhood has repeatedly reported that the tenant is a nuisance.
You can also evict a tenant when they fail to move out after the lease agreement has expired.
California doesn’t allow you to simply tell your tenant that they’re evicted and need to vacate the premises. There’s a legal process you must go through.
The first step involves sending a formal lease termination notice to the tenant. It’s in your best interest to send this notice via registered mail. One exception to the lease termination notice is that in California landlords are allowed to send a simple 60-day notice instead.
Before you can file for an eviction, you must provide the tenant with a minimum of three days to either get caught up on repairs or deal with whatever contact violation led to the eviction notice. Just because three-days have passed doesn’t mean you can change the locks. Now it’s time to file and get the court system involved. The fact your tenant didn’t respond to the eviction notice indicates that they want to fight the situation.
The tenant has the right to remain on the property until the court says they have to move out.
As the landlord, you’ll be pleased to know that most tenants don’t want to get the court involved. Most prefer to leave your property quietly because they don’t want an eviction on their record. That kind of black mark makes it nearly impossible for them to find a nice place to rent in the future.
Just because your tenant has moved off your property, it doesn’t mean you’re done with them. They will want their security deposit back. You have 21 days to go through the property and make a note of any damage they left behind. At this point, you have to either refund the security deposit or explain why they won’t get it. If you’re not returning the full security deposit you have to provide your former tenant with a written explanation. The explanation should include an itemized list of deductions that make it clear that the repairs needed match or exceed the security deposit.