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What a landlord can and cannot legally do when evicting a tenant

Being a landlord in Bakersfield and throughout California can be difficult, particularly if the tenant is not living up to the lease agreement or is behaving in ways that make it necessary for them to be evicted. Understanding the law regarding when a tenant can be evicted and what the landlord is allowed and not allowed to do is one of the most important aspects of being a landlord. To make certain there are no violations when deciding on how to proceed, understanding the law is paramount.

A tenant can be evicted in the following circumstances: if the rent is not paid on time; if the tenant breaks the agreement such as having a pet when pets are not allowed; damaging the property and subsequently reducing its value - also known as waste; becoming a serious nuisance in causing disturbances for other tenants and neighbors even after the person has been asked to stop; or using the residence for illegal behaviors. The landlord can also move forward with evicting the tenant if the tenant remains in the residence after the lease has expired and if the landlord cancels the rental agreement after giving the legally required notice.

If the landlord is seeking to evict a tenant and all the legal procedures have been exhausted, it is still up to the sheriff to do the evicting. Landlords are not legally allowed to evict the tenant on their own without having a court order. If there is no court order, the landlord is not allowed to do the following: remove the tenant; take the tenant's personal property from the residence; lock the tenant out of the residence; cut off the electricity, water or other utilities; remove doors or windows; or change the locks.

Landlords who do not base their actions on the law can find themselves in violation themselves and face legal problems because of it. It is often misinterpreted that landlords are always in the wrong when they are trying to evict a tenant. This is not the case. There are numerous viable reasons to evict a tenant. Landlords need to ensure that they are in full compliance by discussing their case with an attorney who is experienced with helping clients trying to pursue an eviction of a tenant.

Source: courts.ca.gov, "Eviction," accessed on March 7, 2017

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