Landlords file over 3.6 million eviction cases every year.
Misinformation about them shows up everywhere, such as the idea that they always remove a tenant from their home. Knowing the truth helps landlords avoid problematic tenants and legal issues.
Read on to learn how to handle evictions in San Jose, California.
When Can You Evict Tenants?
Evicting a tenant may seem to run against your goal of keeping occupancy rates high. The truth is that quality is better than quantity. Getting rid of a problematic tenant for a legal reason is better for everyone.
The Tenant Protection Ordinance lists 13 "just causes" to evict a tenant. They include:
- Nonpayment of rent
- Violating the lease or staying without renewing it
- Damaging the apartment
- Refusing to agree to a new rental agreement
- Disturbing the peace
- Refusing to let the landlord access the apartment
- Unapproved holdover subtenants
- Criminal activity
- Substantial rehabilitation of the apartment
- Removing the apartment from the rental market
- Owner move-ins
- City code enforcement actions
- Converting the apartment into another type of building
You cannot force them out with unjust methods. These include removing their belongings, locking them out, cutting off their utilities, or threatening them.
The Eviction Process
The right tenant screening process keeps quality tenants on your property. It reduces the number of evictions you'll have to perform, but it may not eliminate them.
You must provide the tenant with a written notice. Send it a specific number of days ahead depending on the reason and the terms of your lease. It gives them time to fix the problem or move out.
If the problem isn't resolved, you and your tenant will end up going to court. Get all the necessary paperwork for an unlawful detainer lawsuit and have another adult give the paperwork to the tenant.
If they don't respond, a deferred judgment gives you the right to evict. If they do, you'll have to go through a trial.
If you win your case, the tenant has to move out and may owe you damages such as unpaid rent or attorney fees. You are required to notify them of any personal property they left behind. You must give them time to reclaim it but can dispose of it after that and charge them for the cost of storing it.
What If You Don't Follow the Rules?
There are serious penalties for not going through the proper process and following all California eviction laws.
Your case may be dismissed. This could leave you with a problematic tenant and force you to restart the process.
Any unlawful methods you use to remove a tenant can lead to criminal charges and fines of up to $2,000 each. The tenant can also sue you for damages, leading to even more expensive and time-consuming legal battles.
Who Can Help Me Perform Legal Evictions?
The only thing worse for a landlord than evictions are evictions that don't follow the proper legal process. Make sure you start for a legal reason. Go through court with the right paperwork and representation to win your case.
PMI San Jose is a full-service property management company. We're dedicated to helping you manage and maximize every part of your property. Contact us for help with your investment today.