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We’ve never met a landlord who enjoys evicting a tenant. It’s an unpleasant process for everyone, but it’s also unavoidable on occasion. If you have a tenant who isn’t paying rent, you need to be prepared to evict. Today, we’re explaining the process.

First Step: Contact Your Tenant about the Late Rent

When rent is late, start by contacting your tenant to find out if something has happened and to remind them that rent is due. Perhaps it was a simple oversight and by reaching out, you’ll get the rent paid quickly. We like to talk through any issues our tenants are having and find out if we can expect the rent sometime soon. When we’re able to work something out with the tenant, we don’t have to worry about taking any additional steps. Document the conversation and the promise to pay, and make sure rent is paid when your tenant promises it will be paid.

However, if you are unable to get in touch with your tenant, or your tenant avoids your attempts at contact, you’ll have to move on.

Second Step: Make Sure the Tenants Haven’t Moved Out

Keep trying to reach your tenants. This will let them know that you’re not going to let the matter go. It also gives you the opportunity to ensure they are still living in the property. We always recommend you work with a professional Santa Cruz property manager, and this is one example of why it’s so beneficial. Your manager can take care of these things for you.

Third Step: Three Day Notice to Pay or Quit

If you’re still not getting anywhere, you’ll need to serve a Three Day Notice to Pay or Quit. This formally begins the eviction process and lets your tenants know they have three days to either catch up with the overdue rent or move out of the property.

Once the notice is served, we let our qualified eviction attorneys take over. They understand the legal process and can take the case to court.

Fourth Step: Removing the Tenants

Fourth Step: Removing the TenantsYour attorney will likely receive a judgment in court for an Unlawful Detainer, or an eviction. Your tenants will be ordered by the judge to vacate the home. If they don’t do this, you’ll need to show up with the sheriff to have them physically removed. Make sure you’re prepared to change the locks. If the tenants leave property inside, you will need to coordinate with them to move it out. If they don’t move it out, you will need to store it for a period of time, and then you can throw out anything that isn’t valuable.

Try to meet with the tenants to allow them to get any possessions out of the home or out of wherever you store them.

Eviction is never fun, but sometimes tenants who don’t pay leave you no choice but to take this final action. Remember that a good tenant screening process can reduce the risk that you’ll have to evict.

If you have any further questions about the eviction process in California, please contact us at Portola Property Management.