Steps To Legally Evict A Tenant In California

by | Mar 5, 2014 | Law


Latest Articles



Eviction is the process of asking a tenant to vacate a residence, usually due to a violation of the lease agreement. The eviction process is the legal regulations surrounding an eviction and dictates the steps a property owner or landlord must take in order to legally evict a resident. Whether you own rental properties in Long Beach or manage properties in Los Angeles, knowing the steps of the Eviction Process will insure that you handle an eviction legally and decrease your risk of being sued for wrongful eviction.

Serve The Tenant With Notice

The first step in the eviction process is serving the tenant with a notice that informs them that you want them to vacate the premises. If the reason for eviction is nonpayment of rent, you can choose to offer the tenant the chance to pay the back rent instead of being evicted. The tenant has the time specified on the notice to leave or do what the notice asks, but if they refuse you will need to file an unlawful detainer with the court system. Once the court receives the paperwork, the tenant has 5 days to answer. If no answer, the landlord can file for default and the judge will order that the tenant follow the eviction notice.

Going To Court

At some point in the eviction process, you may have to go to court. Tenants who choose to answer an unlawful detainer claim will often want to go to court to prove why they shouldn’t be evicted. A court will try to get you a court date within one month so that you can continue with the process of eviction. When you go to court, you will need to prove why you have the legal right to remove the tenant from the residence. A copy of the signed lease agreement, plus any supporting documentation, will help to prove your case and make it a speedy hearing.

Official Eviction

When the judge determines that the tenant must vacate the property, he or she will order an eviction notice. The notice will have a specified date for eviction, although the tenant can move before the date. If the tenant refuses to leave before the date of eviction, the local sheriff will arrive to forcibly remove the tenant.