To every property owner, whether it is an apartment building, a warehouse or commercial office park, getting a return on one’s investment is an essential part of doing business. This means that monthly rent must be collected from tenants. Invariably tenants may not be able honor their contractual obligation. In these instances, a landlord may have to commence eviction proceedings.
Although it may appear to be a simple procedure, the eviction process in Southern California is fraught with pitfalls for the unwary. Essentially, landlords must strictly adhere to rules governing eviction notices and the initiation of unlawful detainer lawsuits.
For instance, California law requires that residential landlords serve a proper notice to pay rent (or to quit) and that such a notice must be conspicuously posted or provided directly to the tenant before an unlawful detainer suit may be commenced. Additionally, landlords are prohibited from taking “self-help” actions to expedite evictions, such as changing locks, shutting off services or otherwise harassing tenants who have not paid rent.
These missteps can serve as legal grounds for denying an unlawful detainer and the corresponding writ of possession that enables the sheriff to physically remove the tenant. In fact, there are companies that represent tenants in the midst of eviction proceedings that look to exploit rule violations so that their clients can buy additional time to avoid evictions.
To that end, landlords must be vigilant when it comes to evictions. The guidance of an experienced real estate attorney can help to ensure that you adhere to California law.