How To Evict a Tenant in San Diego
Notice To Vacate and Termination the Tenancy
3 Day Notice, 30 Day Notice, 60 Day Notice and Unlawful Detainer
As a landlord you will sooner or later probably be faced with a tenant who is doing something not permitted in the lease or cannot pay the rent. It’s not to be mean but rather protect your investment by evicting a tenant. If you are looking to evict your tenant in San Diego you must be very careful and do things correctly, use the right forms, and serve papers in the right order or the judges will throw out your case. Expect it to take a minimum of 3 months to get before the judge and if the tenant know how to work the system they can buy more time.
The best case scenario is if your tenant is on a month-to-month agreement and has been in the property less that 1 year. This is what is known as a periodic tenancy. All you have to do here is give the tenants a 30-Day Notice to vacate. If they did not pay their rent, the landlord must issue a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit. First give the 3 Day, if they still do not pay you should file an Unlawful Detainer which is the first step in an Eviction.
The 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit
Usually when a tenant gets evicted they have been in the property longer than 1 year. If you have a bad tenant who is not paying first you start with a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit. This form needs to contain certain language and be served in the right manner of the judge will throw it out 3 months down the road so take your time and make sure everything is done correctly throughout this process. If you don’t prepare and serve the forms correctly the tenant could actually win in court and force you to pay their legal fees. You can even give the tenant a 3 Day for violating other terms of the lease such as annoying neighbors, sub letting or bringing in pets.
It is advised to have a professional Process Server company serve this Notice for less than $50.00. You can serve it yourself as well. It is recommended that you also mail a copy certified mail and post a copy on the door and take a picture. If they do not pay the rent after the 3 day period is up, now you need to serve them a 60-Day Notice in the same fashion.
The 60 Day Notice and Unlawful Detainer
Now it is time to file a 60 Day Notice. Again, make sure you are using the correct form, If this form is missing any language the case will be thrown out of court. Once the 60 Days has gone by it is time to file the Eviction with the court. In California the eviction is called Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit. It is advised to hire an eviction attorney to do this for you. It will cost around $1500.00.
There is only 1 judge who hears all the eviction cases in San Diego so its going to take about 45 days to get a court date. Meanwhile, the tenant in default will be notified and given a chance to challenge you. This is where the tenant commonly gets on the internet to seek legal advice.
Tenants Rights in California
Unfortunately the are State of California “Tenants Rights” attorneys who are paid for by our tax dollars. They offer Free Legal Help to these tenants. If the tenant counter sues you it will cause a further delay. Many times these free legal help attorneys will unfairly target landlords. They are going to try and scare you so be prepared.
Once you finally get to court around 90 days later you better have all your notices, proof of service, all documentation on hand. If the judge finds in your favor you will win the suit. At this point you have to contact the San Diego Sheriff office to set up a “Lock Out” which is what we think of as an eviction. Expect to wait another 2 weeks for the Sheriff to schedule this lock out.
The Sheriff Lock Out
Many landlords also have a locksmith also meet for the lock out appointment. The locksmith will gain entry, Sheriff notifies all parties they have 30 minutes to remove their belongings. Commonly tenants put stuff on the front lawn and then you change the locks. Post No Trespassing signs so if they break back in you can call the police and get them arrested. Read the San Diego Sheriff eviction information form.
If the tenants are not home when the lock out occurs (they frequently wait until the last night to move) you still are responsible for storing their belongings for a certain time period to give them a chance to get them. If the tenant does move out at some point before the court date, you can withdraw the Unlawful Detainer Complaint.
The landlord must still return their deposit and a full accounting of any deductions within 21 days. Do not try and do this yourself without legal help. If you miss one small detail or verbiage on a form you will waste this whole 90-100 days and have to start over from step 1! Also, California updates the forms every few years so it is imperative that you use the current form. The Eviction Judge in San Diego loves to side with tenants. You are the evil capitalist landlord and will be treated as such.
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