Do you have problem tenants in your Silicon Valley rentals? Are you finding new surprises every month?
Well, you are not alone. No matter how carefully you conduct tenant screening there are some tenants which won’t be a good fit which can leave to evictions. But evictions are never simple or fast. If you don’t currently have a professional property manager, there are some important things to consider before throwing your tenants’ furniture to the curb. But 1st things 1st. Let’s examine the grounds you might have for evictions.
Uncooperative Tenants: Failure to pay rent is the most common reasons for eviction. Most States including California have detailed protocols for evictions which landlords must follow. In most states, you must give tenants “Notice to Pay Rent or Vacate.” If the tenant fails to pay rent during a legally determined time period, then a landlord must file an “Unlawful Detainer” action. The tenant has the option of fighting this action. But if the tenant doesn’t defend against this action or fails to appear a default judgment would be granted. If the tenant fights the action, a hearing is held to review both sides of the dispute.
If a judgment is eventually granted against the tenant, and the tenant still refuses to move out, the court will issue a “writ of restitution” which the local Sheriff will post to the tenant’s front door. If the tenant hasn’t moved out by the time specified in the writ (normally three days), the landlord is free to take possession of the rental and remove the tenant’s property. However, California laws require landlords to store the personal belongings of their tenants for at least 30 days to allow them time to collect them. cal laws may require that this be done under the supervision of a sheriff.
Lease Term Violations: Tenants often violate terms of their lease by keeping pets or sub-leasing the property without the written notification to landlord. They my cause a nuisance, damaging your property, violating the rights of the neighbors or the rules of your lease in some serious way. Similar to eviction for failure to pay rent, you may end up having to go to court and get the sheriff involved.
What Not to Do: As a landlord it’s not wise to take matters into your own hands and retaliate. You could easily find yourself being sued or even facing criminal charges. Some examples of unlawful retaliation are:
- Turning off Utilities including water, heat, or electricity
- Threatening or assaulting a tenant
- Changing the locks
- Removing tenant property
The most important thing to remember when faced with having to evict a tenant is to keep cool and act in accordance with the law. It’s always a good idea — if not the best idea — to consult a real estate attorney, particularly if you don’t have a licensed property manager.
Contact us if you need to discuss your option with difficult tenants in your Los Gatos, Saratoga, San Jose or Campbell rentals.