Evicting a commercial tenant for nonpayment of rent in California is not an easy process, as California laws heavily favor tenants. However, though difficult, eviction is not impossible. By adhering strictly to the state’s eviction laws and procedures, which SFGate lays out for your convenience, you can free up the space for use sooner and lose less money in doing so.

To begin the eviction process, draft a three-day notice. This notice informs the tenant that he or she has three-days to pay the past due amount or face eviction. Serve the notice to the tenant at his or her place of business.

Next, fill out a “proof of service” form to indicate the date of service for your records. Wait for three days for the tenant to pay the past-due rent. If the tenant makes any partial payments, accept the money but be sure to inform the tenant, in writing, that your acceptance of partial payments does not waive your right to evict him or her. If the tenant makes a full payment within the three-day grace period, you lose your right to evict him or her for nonpayment.

If the tenant does not pay but refuses to leave, hire an attorney. An attorney will help you draft and serve an unlawful detainer notice. Upon receipt of the notice, the tenant has five days to contest the eviction. If the tenant contests the proceedings, your case will go to court. If the tenant does not contest the proceedings, you can appeal to the court for a judgment for possession. If the court grants you the judgment, a sheriff will perform a tenant lockout.

The sheriff will post a “five-day notice to vacate” to the front door. The tenant must leave the premises within that five-day period. If he or she does not, the sheriff will lock the door, thereby completing the eviction process.

The tenant has 15 days from the date of lockout to reclaim his or her possessions, or 18 if he or she left of his or her own accord. For your records, make sure you mail a “notice of belief of abandonment” to the tenant’s last-known address.

If the tenant does not collect his or her belongings, dispose of them if the total value is $300 or less. If the total value is greater than $300, auction the property through public sale. If you hold an auction, you must publish the auction information in a local newspaper for two weeks prior to the sale. You can hold the auction five days after the last published date.

This article is for educational purposes only. You should not use it as legal advice.

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