Carrying out evictions against tenants following California law can be daunting for landlords. In this blog, we will cover the rules that landlords need to follow for the tenant eviction process in California.

Four Steps to the Eviction Process in the East Bay Area

Under California eviction laws, a landlord cannot force a tenant out of their rental through “self-help” or retaliatory eviction proceedings. “Self-help” eviction tactics can include removing the tenant’s belongings, locking the tenant out of the rental home, or shutting off their utilities. Lease agreements and California landlord-tenant law state that a tenant has a right to a lawful eviction process and proper notice.

How to legally evict tenants in California may seem like a difficult task, so we have broken the eviction process into four simple steps. Here is how landlords can evict a tenant from their house or rental unit under California eviction laws:

Step One: A landlord Must Have a Valid Reason to File for Eviction 

According to California eviction laws, a landlord may choose to evict a tenant, and the first step of the California eviction process is having a valid reason for evicting tenants. The most obvious reason for a landlord to evict a tenant from their California rental unit would be the fact that the tenant failed to pay rent which is a violation of the lease or rental agreement. Failure to pay rent is likely the most common reason to evict a resident. At East Bay Property Management and Consulting, we manage 500 doors in the East Bay area.  Every month our rents are due on the first, and are considered late after 5 o’clock on the second, so paying rent is never an issue.

We have anywhere from 5-10 tenants each month that don’t complete rent payments on time. We reach out to these tenants, and usually, they will quickly pay their rent once they realize they have not paid it. However, if tenants refuse to pay their unpaid rent by the fourth then we begin filing what is called a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit.

The written notice form is available for download on our website. Providing tenants with written legal notice will give the tenant 3 business days after the initial notice period to pay the rent in full. Consequently, if the tenant does not cover their rent in full after the three-day notice period, then it is time for the landlord to contact an eviction attorney. 

Under California eviction laws, a landlord can also file a 3 3-day notice if the tenant has violated a part of their lease agreement. For example, maybe the tenant snuck in roommates or pets without the landlords permission. Or on the other hand, maybe they are causing noise at night and bothering the neighbors. These are all lease violations and a landlord can file what’s called a Notice to Correct the Lease Violation. A violation is a common reason to remove tenants under any lease agreement.

The written notice form is available for download on our website. Under California laws, the tenant will have three days to make the correction or vacate. If the tenant does not comply with the tenant notice, then it is time to involve the legal services of an attorney who specializes in how to file a notice of eviction as you, the landlord, can now legally carry out the eviction of the tenant.

Step Two: Contacting an Eviction Attorney

The eviction lawyer will file what is called an unlawful detainer, which is another name for eviction lawsuits as part of their legal services. The attorney we recommend is a gentleman named Todd Rothbard. He has about 12 attorneys working in his office. They specialize in evictions and can file an eviction lawsuit here in the Bay Area. You, the landlord, can contact his office at 408-244-4200. This will cost the landlord around $1000.

You, the landlord, will need two things to move forward with the unlawful detainer: the copy of the lease terms or rental agreement if you have it, and the three-day notice that you served your tenant. The lawyer will ensure this has been filled out correctly. If it has, then they will file the unlawful detainer lawsuit and go before a judge in a court hearing. 

written evictions notice california from landlords

Step Three: The Court Case for Eviction California 

Landlords’ cases to evict a tenant will usually go to court 3-4 weeks after filing the unlawful detainer/ eviction lawsuit. Most of the time, the tenant won’t even show up at court because they have no land to stand on. This means that the judge will find a victory for the landlord. As a result, the judge will give your attorney what’s called a writ of possession and then your attorney will immediately take that over to the sheriff’s office.

Step Four: The Eviction Notice and Sheriff Lockout 

This will cost around $120, and what the sheriff will do is post a five-day notice on the tenant’s door giving them five days to vacate. If the tenant fails to do so, under the eviction law, the sheriff or law enforcement officer can physically remove the tenant and their belongings.

So from the time a landlord serves their tenant a 3-day Notice to the time tenants are out of their rental unit is around 30-40 days. California landlords will be able to deduct the rent owed to them from the tenant’s security deposit. If you’re a landlord and have any questions at all regarding the termination and eviction process in California, please don’t hesitate to contact me. 

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Final Words: How to Evict the Tenant in Your Rental Unit

Credit score is the number one criterion a landlord should consider when selecting a tenant. Above all, when your tenant has a good credit score (680 or higher) the chances of an eviction almost go down to zero. An eviction crushes one’s credit and stays on a tenant’s credit score for seven years. A tenant with a good credit score is not going to jeopardize having that happen. 

 I offer two seminars every 90 days. The first seminar is entitled “The 12 Basics of Property Management.” This is a 2-hour seminar for self-managing landlords. I’ll share with you all my strategies, tips, and tools. This seminar is always held on a Saturday morning and you will be joined by 80-100 other landlords. The second seminar is entitled “Should I Hold, Sell or Exchange my Rental”, and it covers the basics of investing in real estate. The second seminar is also held on a Saturday as is completely free.  I provide brunch at both seminars. To RSVP for the next seminar, you can either call or text me at 510-996-3238.


Disclaimer: This blog is only meant to be informational and not a substitute for professional legal advice or legal help. For questions or further help, please get in touch with East Bay Property Management and Consulting. For any other legal concerns, contact an attorney.