In California, a rental agreement exists when there is an oral or written agreement to exchange rent for residing in a property. Under California law (CA Civil Code 1940-1954.05), tenants have certain rights, including the right to a habitable dwelling or due process for evictions.
Landlords also have rights, such as the right to collect rent and to collect payment for property damages that exceed normal wear and tear.
NOTE: The tenant’s rights and landlord’s rights exist despite a rental agreement stating otherwise.
If a tenant fails to pay rent, commits waste (neglect, alterations to property that decrease or increase property’s value), uses the property to conduct illegal activities, interferes with another tenant’s quiet enjoyment of the property, or for any lease violation, then the landlord may serve the tenant with notice to vacate the property or to fix the issue at hand.
A Notice might tell the tenant to fix a problem or move out by a certain date. The deadlines can be very short, like 3 days, or months.
If the tenant does not do what the Notice says by the deadline date, then the landlord can file an eviction case (unlawful detainer). The landlord must have a copy of the court papers delivered (served) to the tenant.
If the tenant does not respond by the deadline, then the landlord can file papers asking a judge to decide the case without the tenant’s input. If the tenant does respond, either side can ask for a trial where a judge or jury will decide.
If the landlord wins, then the landlord can ask the judge for papers that tell the sheriff to evict the tenants. The sheriff will post a Notice to Vacate and the tenant has time to move out.
Above was a brief summary of the eviction process. As a landlord, you must meet many legal requirements before you can ask for a court order saying that your tenant must move out. These include additional Covid-19 requirements the state of California placed on landlords before a landlord can evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent. For more information regarding a dispute you may have, call my office today at (831) 586-5856.
New Law for California Landlords
Beginning January 1, 2022, residential landlords shall provide the booklet “Information on Dampness and Mold for Renters in California”. This booklet must be given to prospective residential tenants prior to entering the rental or lease agreement, in accordance with the 2001 Toxic Mold Protection Act (California Health and Safety Code §26148).