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The Reasons You Can (and Can’t) Evict a Tenant

Eviction Notice in an EnvelopeKnowing when and how to evict a tenant is one of the most crucial aspects of being a successful landlord. If you’re unfamiliar with the eviction process or are unsure when (and when not) to evict a renter, continue reading! We’ll explore the most common reasons landlords evict tenants in this blog post, as well as the stages involved in the eviction process.

Understanding Just Cause

Eviction is a legal process in which you must seek a court order to remove a renter from your property, as every Atherton property manager must understand. You can’t merely change the locks and toss the tenant’s possessions out on the street. Both measures would be in violation of your tenant’s rights.

To expel a tenant, you must have “just cause.” Simply put, just cause means that you have a lawful basis to evict the tenant, including non-payment of rent, property damage, or violation of the lease terms. Without “just cause”, you cannot evict a tenant legally.

Reasons You Can Evict

Unpaid rent is among the most common causes for landlords to evict tenants. If your tenant does not pay their rent on time as per the agreement, you can serve them official notice that they have a fixed number of days to pay or vacate the property, as legally mandated by the state. You can then file for eviction if the renter does not comply. Make it a point to abide by the terms of the lease and any state and local laws that may apply.

Destruction of the property is another common ground for eviction. If your renter has caused serious damage to the property that exceeds normal wear and tear, you can serve them with a memorandum to remedy the damage or remove themselves from the premises. You may apply for eviction if your renter refuses to cooperate.

Likewise, the violation of other lease terms grants reasons for evicting a tenant. As an example, if your lease prohibits pets but your tenant is keeping a pet, you can serve an official letter asking the renter to get rid of the pet or leave the property. You can apply for eviction if the tenant refuses to comply. The same is true for all other lease terms.

Reasons You Can’t Evict

Moreover, there are several reasons why you cannot evict a tenant, despite the fact that they have acted in such a way that would necessitate eviction. As an example, a tenant cannot be evicted simply because they desired certain repairs to the property or have become irritable over the condition of the unit. Further, you are restricted from forcibly removing a renter on the grounds of sex, familial situation, color, race, religion, disability, or national origin. It is illegal to evict a tenant based on these protected distinctions and so any attempt to do so may bring a lawsuit.

The Eviction Process

There are a few procedures to conduct if you are in the awkward position of having to evict a tenant. First, you must provide a proper written statement for the renter describing the reason for the eviction and the deadline by which they must evacuate the premises. The next step is to go to the court and file an eviction petition and the renter will be duly notified. If the renter fails to appear at their scheduled court date, you may win a default judgment in your favor. Lastly, if the renter refuses to leave, you can have the lawful authority in your community evict them.

Though evicting a tenant is not a nice experience, there are times when it is simply necessary. The more you know about why you can (and can’t) evict a tenant, as well as the steps in the eviction process, the easier it will be for you to deal with this unfortunate situation.

If you’re in danger of being evicted, it’s a good idea to seek the counsel of a property management consultant. Contact Real Property Management Mid Peninsula to speak to a local rental property professional today at 650-696-1800.

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