Four Steps to the Eviction Process in the East Bay Area

In this blog, we will cover the rules on the eviction process in the State of California.

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

How to evict a tenant in California legally may seem like a difficult task, so we have broken the process into four simple steps.

Here is how to evict a tenant from your house or rental unit:

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

According to state law, a landlord may choose to evict a tenant, and the first step of the eviction process is having a valid reason for evicting the tenant. The most obvious reason to evict a tenant from your California rental unit would be the fact that your tenant failed to pay rent. Failure to pay rent is likely the most common reason to evict the tenant. 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 pay rent on time. We reach out to them, and usually they will quickly pay their rent once they realize they have not paid it. However, if a tenant has not paid their unpaid rent by the fourth then we will begin filing what is called a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit.

The notice form is available for download on our website. Providing your tenant written 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 pay their rent in full after the three days, then it is time to contact an eviction attorney. 

You can also file a 3 Day Notice if the tenant has violated a part of their lease agreement or rental agreement. For example, maybe they have snuck in roommates or pets without your permission. Or on the other hand, maybe they are causing noise at night and bothering the neighbors. These are all lease agreement or rental agreement violations and you can file what’s called a Notice to Correct the Lease Violation. Lease violations are a common reason to evict tenants under any lease agreement.

The written notice form is available for download on our website. Under California law, the tenant will have three days to make the correction or vacate. If they do 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 can now legally evict the tenant.

Step Two: Contacting an Eviction Attorney

The eviction attorney will file what is called an unlawful detainer, which is another name for an eviction lawsuit. The attorney we recommend is a gentleman named Todd Rothbard. He has about 12 attorneys working in his office. They specialize in evictions and filing an eviction lawusit here in the Bay Area. You can contact his office at 408-244-4200. An unlawful detainer will cost you around $1000.

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

written notice california

Step Three: The Court Case for Eviction California 

Your case will usually go to court 3-4 weeks after filing the unlawful detainer. 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 victory for you. As a result, they’ll 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 they don’t, the sheriff can physically remove the tenant and their belongings. So from the time you serve your tenant a 3-Day Notice to the time they are out of your rental unit is around 30-40 days. You will be able to deduct the rent owed to you from the tenant’s security deposit. If you have any questions at all regarding the eviction process, please don’t hesitate to contact me. 

california law unlawful detainer

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

Credit score is the number one criteria you 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.