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Evictions In California – How Long Does The Process Take?

Evictions In California

Even in California, one of the most tenant-friendly states, evictions can still be a scary experience. Many tenants worry about how long it will take for them to be legally evicted.

Some of the most common questions around evictions are: How long do they take? How much will it cost? Do I need a lawyer to evict someone?

Although the eviction process can be completed quickly, it is helpful if you fully understand the concept of eviction and the steps that you must take to follow through the process. This article will help you with understanding evictions in California.

What is the Eviction Process in California?

In California, the eviction process is commonly referred to as an “unlawful detainer” action, and an eviction may occur within days after the first notice to evacuate. This is uncommon, however, since most tenants struggle to save their homes, prolonging the process by weeks, if not months. 

Adhere to court etiquette to speed the process and ensure a favorable ruling by the judge. While courts prioritize eviction cases, they may be delayed if the court’s calendar is already loaded.

Can a landlord expel you for no reason in California? 

A landlord cannot just evict a tenant for no reason. A landlord must have a legal basis to evict. If the tenant does not correct the problem within a reasonable period, the landlord may start the eviction process.

Reasons for eviction

  1. Unable to pay rent after a notice

California tenants cannot be illegally evicted. Rent arrears give the landlord the power to remove a tenant.

Rent is late in California if not paid by the due date. The rental/lease agreement specifies a grace period that every renter must understand.

No extra late fees or interest rates may be mentioned in the eviction notice. If the tenants do not pay their rent after receiving the notice, the landlord may proceed with the eviction.

  1. Breach of the rental lease agreement

Your renters signed a rental lease agreement and must follow its conditions.

Here are some instances of evictions:

  • harmed property
  • exceeding the authorized number of inhabitants
  • Illegal behavior would not be classified as such.

The landlord may evict renters who do not comply with the compliance notice.

  1. Repeated deliberate harms or transgressions

No time will be provided to the tenants to settle their complaints. If they don’t leave after three days, the landlord may sue for eviction.

Tenants may be served with a notice to vacate for the following reasons:

  • doing criminal acts on the premises
  • a major rental unit issue
  • caused permanent or physical property harm
  • assigned or sublet the rental unit, both of which are against the rental agreement
  1. The renters are without a lease, or the contract has expired.

In rent-controlled cities in California, landlords cannot terminate a tenant without reason. But, if the tenants remain in the property after the lease period has ended, the landlord may initiate eviction proceedings.

What is the eviction process in California?

Eviction Process in California: Step by Step Guide

California’s eviction regulations divide the first major phase into five steps:

  1. California eviction notices must be served.
  2. The landlord files for eviction.
  3. Summons and petitions must be personally served.
  4. The tenant reacts.
  5. The court decides on the complaint and answer’s merits.

These procedures must be followed for the proceedings to be legal and binding. 

Examine these five stages in further detail.

Step 1 . A “Notice to Quit”

To begin the eviction procedure, the landlord must first notify the tenant that they intend to take the property. Notice to Quit must specify the basis for eviction and the intention to commence eviction. 

It must contain the following:

  •  tenant’s name, 
  • address, 
  • rental unit number, and 
  • floor. 

The landlord must seek this document from the court and he must also sign it.

The general purpose of Notice to Quit is to provide tenants with an opportunity to correct any lease breaches. Determining the cause of the non-payment may be difficult. If the renter meets the standards, they may escape eviction.

If the violation is significant enough to harm the landlord’s financial interests and personal safety, they may issue an Unconditional Notice to Quit (UNQ). In this instance, the renter is denied recourse. They must leave.

Step 2. Landlord brings eviction suit in court.

The landlord may sue for an eviction petition in court for failure to reply or correct lease agreement infractions within a reasonable period.

Step 3: The summons and complaint must be physically served.

Due process rights of the renter demand this procedure. The paperwork must be physically served by a sheriff or process server to the tenant or agent.

Step 4: The tenant must answer.

To react to the complaint, the renter must be given fair time. If you don’t, the landlord may get a writ of possession.

Step 5: The court rules.

The court must hear both parties, the landlord and the tenant, before deciding. It will provide the landlord with a writ of possession if the court deems that repossession is reasonable. If the renter refuses to go, a policeman will enforce the order.

A writ of possession by default may be issued if the tenant does not reply promptly to the complaint. Important: Personal serving of summons and complaint to a tenant is required to execute a writ of default possession.

How long does it take for an eviction process?

Timeline for California Evictions

  • In certain areas, the judge may impose eviction just after the trial. On average, a court grants a renter between one and four weeks to vacate.
  • Forcible eviction is required if the renter continues beyond the notice period. That’ll be weeks away. An extension request, bankruptcy, or appeal of the judge’s decision may cause further delays.
  • Evictions during times of unrest, pandemics, or natural disasters may take longer.

So, assuming no delays, an eviction might take five weeks to three months. The procedure might take up to a year if there are any delays.

Learn more about the California evictions process from San Francisco landlord-tenant lawyers.

The bottom line here? Understanding the California evictions process, how long it takes and your rights as a tenant are vital to keeping you protected from evictions. Whether you’re trying to get out of eviction or on the other side of things, it’s crucial to be well informed when dealing with eviction laws in the state.

More importantly, eviction is a serious business and should be handled by an experienced attorney who has successfully handled hundreds of evictions. Here at San Francisco Landlord-Tenant Attorneys, we have been handling evictions for years, and we can assist you with the California evictions process. Please contact us through phone or fill out our online form for a FREE consultation.

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