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We get a lot of questions about eviction because it’s something that many landlords fear and dread. We can understand that anxiety, so today we are going to talk about what an eviction is and how the process works. It’s never a pleasant scenario for anyone; but if a tenant isn’t paying rent, it might be your only option for getting your property back.

Step One: Contacting the Tenant

If a tenant does not pay their rent, your first step is to contact them to find out why haven’t paid and if they are going to pay. It’s entirely possible that they simply forgot or overlooked it. Or, maybe they’re having a uniquely difficult time during one particular month. If we have a conversation with them and work it out, we won’t have to worry about pursuing the eviction. Instead, we set up a payment arrangement and we know when we can expect the money.

However, if the tenant does not respond or contact us, then we have no choice but to go to the next step in the eviction process.

Step Two: Verify the Tenants are Still Occupying the Home

We continue to attempt to contact the tenants, not only because we want to know when we can expect the rent to be paid, but also because we want to make sure they are still living in the property. If you have a professional property manager, you’re at an advantage because you won’t have to chase down your tenants on your own. Your manager will handle this type of thing for you.

Step Three: Serve the Notice

Our next step is to serve a Three Day Notice to the tenant if they still do not contact us regarding their overdue rent. This notice gives the tenants three days to either pay the rent or leave the property. At this point, we contact an attorney to handle the eviction proceedings in the courts. We hand over all of our documentation and allow the attorney to go to court and get a judgment for possession of the property.

Step Four: Locking Out the Tenants

Man evicted from rental propertyIf we still do not hear from the tenant and we are successfully able to get an Unlawful Detainer from the courts, the tenant will be required to move out. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. If they do not vacate the premises even after they’re ordered to do so by a judge, we meet with the sheriff at the property to have the tenant removed and to change the locks.

By law, we have to hold onto any personal belongings that are in the property and wait for the tenants to contact us for their things. If they do not remove their things, we can store them if they are worth keeping or we can throw them away if there is only junk. We do try to set a time to meet with them at the property so they can remove their belongings.

Eviction is a tough thing to do, but you have to be strong and do it. If you don’t take care of a nonpaying tenant and you let it go, you will have a lot of issues and lose a lot of money.

If you have any further questions about the eviction process in California, please contact us at Sunburst Properties.