REAL ESTATE LAW
Reasons for Eviction
In the state of California, you have the option to initiate an unlawful detainer (eviction) court case to obtain a court order for your tenant to vacate the property if any of the following conditions apply:
1- Non-payment of rent within the designated time period, or complete cessation of rental payments (exceptions may apply for COVID-19 rental debt).
2- Breach of the lease or rental agreement, and failure to rectify the issue (e.g., keeping a pet when pets are prohibited).
3- Causing significant damage to the property, resulting in a decrease in its value (legally referred to as committing waste).
4- Engaging in disruptive behavior that substantially disturbs other tenants or neighbors, despite being warned to cease such activities.
5- Utilizing the property for illegal activities.
6- If you intend to occupy the premises yourself or have your family members move in.
Additionally, you may have grounds for eviction in the following situations:
1- The tenant remains in the property after the lease term has expired.
2- Termination of the rental agreement through proper notice given.
However, please note that these last two reasons may not be sufficient to evict the tenant, particularly if the property is located in an eviction-controlled area. Local ordinances may provide specific regulations that you must comply with. GIven the complexity of California landlord tenant law, it is a good idea to retain experienced real estate attorneys to assist you and ensure you are in compliance with the law.
No Discrimination and Retaliation
It is crucial to emphasize that you cannot evict a tenant based on discriminatory factors such as race, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, number of children, job, physical or mental disability, or their status as a recipient of public assistance. Moreover, retaliatory eviction is strictly prohibited, meaning you cannot initiate eviction proceedings in response to a tenant filing a complaint regarding maintenance issues, code violations, contacting emergency services, or taking any other lawful actions against you.
Self-Help Not Allowed
Engaging in self-help measures to force a tenant’s removal, such as changing locks, shutting off utilities (gas, water, heat), or taking any similar actions, is strictly forbidden by law.
When Notice is Not Required
While a notice is typically required before commencing an unlawful detainer court case, there are a few exceptions to this rule:
1- Fixed-term leases: If your tenant has a lease with a predetermined duration, and the lease has expired without renewal, you may proceed with a court case without providing prior notice. However, it is important to refrain from accepting any rent payments after the lease expiration, as this may establish a month-to-month tenancy, requiring proper notice to terminate.
2- Tenant’s notice to vacate: If your tenant provides written notice of their intention to vacate the premises, but subsequently fails to do so, you may initiate a court case without issuing additional notice.
Types of Notices
Unlawful detainer actions in California often require landlords to serve specific notices to tenants in order to proceed with eviction. These notices serve as formal warnings and provide tenants with an opportunity to rectify the issues or comply with the terms of the lease. Common types of notices include the 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, the 3-Day Notice to Perform Covenants or Quit, and the 3-Day Notice to Quit. Understanding the purpose and requirements of each notice is crucial for landlords seeking to navigate the eviction process in compliance with California law.
3-Day Notice to Perform Covenants or Quit
When you suspect that your tenant has violated the terms of the lease and the issue is capable of being rectified (also known as performing covenants), it is appropriate to use a 3-Day Notice to Perform Covenants or Quit.
This notice is applicable when the tenant has engaged in actions such as bringing a pet into the rental property despite the lease explicitly prohibiting pets, causing disturbances to neighbors with excessive noise, or committing any other lease violation. The notice mandates that the tenant rectify the issue within three days or vacate the premises. However, please note that Saturdays, Sundays, and court holidays are excluded when counting the three-day period.
The 3-Day Notice to Perform Covenants or Quit must be in writing and include the following information:
-Full name(s) of the tenant(s).
-Address of the rental home.
-Details specifying how the tenant is violating the lease.
-Clear statement that the tenant must either rectify the issue or vacate the property within three days.
In some cities, local laws or ordinances may require you to send a prior letter, commonly known as a “cease and desist letter,” to the tenant regarding the violation before serving them with the notice. If such a requirement exists, you must include the date on which the letter was sent in the 3-Day Notice. If your tenant is protected by the Tenant Protection Act, it is crucial to provide them with this notice before issuing a 3-Day Notice to Quit. If the tenant fails to address the issue described in this notice, you may then proceed with a 3-Day Notice to Quit, which does not provide the option to rectify the violation and serves to terminate their tenancy.
3-Day Notice to Quit
When faced with serious issues caused by your tenant at the rental property, it is crucial to take swift and appropriate action to protect your rights as a landlord. One effective tool at your disposal is the issuance of a 3-Day Notice to Quit. This notice is applicable in situations where the tenant is responsible for severe problems at the rental home, including:
1- Causing or allowing a nuisance on the property, such as the presence of a dangerous dog.
2- Engaging in illegal activities, such as drug sales, within the home.
3- Endangering the health and safety of others, for instance, through the use of highly flammable or toxic chemicals.
4- Causing significant damage to the property, resulting in a substantial decrease in its value.
5- Illegally subletting the property to other tenants without obtaining prior permission as stated in the rental agreement.
To ensure the notice is legally effective, it must be provided in writing and include the following information:
-Full name(s) of the tenant(s).
-Address of the rental home.
-Detailed description of the lease violation.
-Explicit directive that the tenant must vacate the premises within three days.
If your tenant falls under the protection of the Tenant Protection Act, it is essential to provide them with a 3-Day Notice to Perform Covenants or Quit before issuing this notice. This preliminary notice grants the tenant an opportunity to rectify the problem within the specified timeframe. The 3-Day Notice to Quit may also be referred to by alternative names, such as 3-Day Notice to Vacate or 3-Day Unconditional Notice to Quit.
Navigating the intricacies of real estate law can be complex, particularly when dealing with eviction proceedings and ensuring compliance with applicable regulations. To safeguard your rights and ensure a smooth legal process, it is highly recommended that you seek the guidance of an experienced California real estate attorney. Their expertise and knowledge will help you navigate the legal complexities, ensure compliance with all legal requirements, and maximize the chances of a favorable outcome.
30-day - 60-day - or Longer Notice to Quit
30-day and 60-day Notices are used to cancel a month-to-month rental agreement. Your right to use a 30-day or 60-day Notice is limited due to the Tenant Protection Act of 2019. This law requires many landlords to give a just cause to end a rental agreement. For example, the landlord must make major repairs for a required health and safety reasons. Or, that the landlord sold the house to someone who plans to move into it. If the law applies, your Notice must list a just cause. You may be required to provide relocation assistance to your tenant.
Here are situations where you can use the 30-day or 60-day Notice without a just cause:
1- If your tenant has lived in the home for less than a year. If you have more than 1 tenant in the same home, the one year is measured by the tenant who’s lived there the longest.
2- If you live in a rental home (single-family home with no more than 2 in-law units, condominium, or apartment) with your tenant. But, eviction restrictions apply if you’re a primary tenant (you rent a home from the owner and then you rent out to other tenants).
3- If you live in ½ of a duplex full-time and rent out the other half.
4- New housing that’s been built within the last 15 years
Note: It is crucial to retain an experienced real estate attorney to assist with drafting and serving appropriate notices. A property may be subject to city or county eviction control laws (in addition to state laws), which may necessitate longer notice requirements and additional requirements that a landlord must satisfy.
Under the Tenant Protection Act,
-Use a 30-day Notice to Quit (move out) to end a month-to-month tenancy if your tenant has been renting for less than 1 year; and
-Use a 60-day Notice to Quit if your tenant has been renting for 1 year or more
The Notice must be in writing and include:
-The tenant(s) full name(s)
-The rental home address
-That the month-to-month tenancy will end in 30 days if they’re giving a 30-day Notice or in 60 days if they’re giving a 60-day Notice
-A statement on how to pick up any property left behind (reclaim abandoned personal property)
-If required by the Tenant Protection Act the just cause (legal reason)
-That if the tenant has lived in the home for more than 1 year they have (1) a right to money to help them move (relocation assistance) or (2) they don’t have to pay their last month’s rent (rent waiver). If you decide to waive last month’s rent (choice 2) you’ll include what the last month’s rent amount is and that your tenant doesn’t owe you rent for their last month.
Contact Our Experienced Eviction Attorneys
At Real Estate Law Corporation, our dedicated team of real estate attorneys will ensure that your rights as a landlord or property owner are protected throughout the eviction process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us help you navigate the intricacies of California’s eviction laws with professionalism, expertise, and a commitment to achieving favorable outcomes.