At North San Diego Property Management, we manage multifamily and commercial properties in the North County area, including in Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, San Marcos, and Solana Beach. We know that the eviction process is unpleasant to think about, but it’s important that you’re prepared. Today, we’re discussing some of the things you need to do if you get to the point that a tenant needs to be evicted.
Consult Your Lease Agreement
Most evictions are due to nonpayment of rent, and when you’re evicting a tenant for that reason, the process starts with a strong lease. Your lease agreement must be clear about when rent is due, how it is to be paid, and what the consequences will be if it’s late. If you have a grace period, the lease should reflect it. If late fees will be incurred after that grace period is over, make sure the lease addresses those. It’s always a good idea to contact your tenant at least once to let them know that the rent has not been received, and you need to know when you can expect it.
Serve a Notice to Pay or Quit
The first step in the formal eviction process is to serve your tenants a Three Day Notice to Pay or Quit. This notifies them that rent has not been paid and they have three days to either catch up with the overdue rent or leave the property. This must be in writing, and it must include several pieces of information, including:
Date the notice was served.
Total amount of rent due.
Notification that the amount due must be submitted within three days, and instructions on where and how to make payment.
Certificate of service demonstrating how the notice was delivered to the tenant.
You can personally hand the notice to the tenant or you can serve it to an adult at the property. If no one answers the door, you can post the notice on the front door and then mail a copy.
Filing for Eviction in Court
If your tenant wants to stay in the property, you will typically get the rent paid within those three days, or your tenant will get in touch and let you know when he or she will have the rent for you. If you don’t hear from your tenant and you don’t receive the rent but you know they haven’t moved out, you’ll need to file some paperwork in court. It’s called an unlawful detainer lawsuit, and the court will serve a summons and complaint on the tenant. There will be a hearing, which is likely to result in you receiving a Writ of Possession to remove the tenant and get the property back. If the tenant still refuses to move, you’ll have to coordinate with the sheriff’s office to have someone physically remove the tenants and their belongings.
We strongly recommend that you get professional help if you need to evict a tenant. Even if you have all the documentation you need and you’re comfortable in front of a judge, a good eviction attorney will ensure the process moves efficiently and without error.
If you need help removing tenants who are not paying or who are violating your lease agreement in some other way, contact us at North San Diego Property Management. We’d be happy to help.