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Understanding the eviction process in California - II

In our last post, we discussed that how no matter how diligent a landlord is in vetting prospective tenants, there will more than likely come a time when they must pursue an eviction. To that end, we also discussed how California has set forth a painstaking process to legally evict problem tenants that must be followed.

We'll continue this discussion in today's post, taking a closer look at giving written notice to a tenant, a process that must be completed without error lest the court dismiss the unlawful detainer case.

To recap, the first step in the eviction process is for the landlord to provide the tenant with written notice. If the timeframe set forth in this written notice lapses without the tenant taking the requested remedial actions, the landlord may proceed with filing the unlawful detainer case.

In general, the law dictates that service of a written notice on a tenant can be accomplished in one of three ways:

  • Personal service: This involves the landlord or another person giving the papers directly to the tenant
  • Substituted service: This can be utilized when the tenant is not at the residence, but there is another member of the household present who is at least 18 years old. Here, the papers must be left with this household member and another copy mailed to the tenant at the residence.  
  • Posting and mailing service: Otherwise known as "nail and mail" service, this can be utilized when there is no one with whom to leave the notice at the residence. Here, the papers must be affixed to the front door (tape, nail, etc.) or another conspicuous location, and another copy mailed to the tenant at the residence.  

It's important to note that there are certain scenarios in which a landlord does not have to worry about providing written notice or, by extension, service:

  • If the tenant works for the landlord and lives on the premises as part of the job, the landlord can pursue an unlawful detainer case without notice so long as the tenant no longer works for them.
  • If the tenant provides the landlord with notice that they are moving out, but fail to actually do so, the landlord can pursue an unlawful detainer case without notice.
  • If the tenant is on a fixed term lease and the lease expires without extension from the landlord, the landlord can pursue an unlawful detainer case without notice. (Acceptance of any rent after expiration of the lease will create a month-to-month tenancy necessitating written notice)

We'll continue discussing this complex topic in future posts.

Consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you would like to learn more about the process of evicting a tenant from residential or commercial rental property here in California.

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