Today we’re talking about eviction, which is a word no landlord ever wants to hear. However, it can happen from time to time. Here at American Heritage, our eviction rate is less than half of one percent. Over the years we’ve had to conduct quite a few evictions when landlords come to us with their problem tenants and they just don’t know what to do.
One of the first problems we notice is that tenants often string the landlord along for way too long. It might be three or six months before the landlord even starts the eviction process. That’s a problem. The financial hole only gets deeper the longer you wait for a tenant to get caught up in late rent.
Three Day Notice
The first step is to serve a Three Day Notice. This gives the tenant the option to pay rent or get out of the property. If they do move out, it doesn’t relieve them of the obligations that are listed in the lease, but this does start the legal process.
If they don’t pay the rent within that timeframe, you want to turn the matter over to an attorney. Do not try to handle the eviction by yourself. Technically, you can evict on your own but as a practical matter – you really cannot. Unless you’re an eviction attorney in San Diego, handling an eviction is a difficult process. If you don’t pay attention to every detail, you’ll have problems.
The attorney files the complaint with the court, which is a lawsuit. A summons is served to the tenant and the tenant has the opportunity to respond. The tenant can either dispute the lawsuit or explain why rent has not been paid.
If they do file a response, they get their day in court. The tenants can get in front of a judge, and this is another reason why you want your attorney to handle it – they know the process. The attorney will represent you. You will answer questions and after that, the tenant is given the lockout date. This takes 10 days to two weeks. The lockout date is the date they need to be out. You will meet the sheriff at the property with someone available to change the locks. The sheriff enters the property to confirm the tenants are out, and then you change the locks and get a piece of paper that states you have possession of the property.
That’s how the eviction process works. Again – don’t do it yourself. Always hire an attorney. It might be costly but it will save you so much in the long run. If you have any questions, or you need help with evictions, we welcome you to contact us at American Heritage Properties.