A Brief Overview of the Grounds for Eviction

Serving Clients Throughout Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Napa Counties

When all amicable means of solving a conflict with a tenant fail, eviction may seem like the only viable solution to a landlord’s problems. While it is true that eviction does have its place in the California state law as a legitimate measure to protect a landlord’s interests, it is important to recognize that the same law also provides certain protections for the tenant. In California, an eviction must proceed according to a very strict and specific procedure. Violating this procedure by a landlord may make eviction illegal and even warrant a lawsuit from the tenant.

Carroll Law Office represents interests of both landlords and tenants in California. The information found in this article will no doubt serve landlords and tenants alike. We will cover the various reasons a landlord can evict a tenant, as well as highlight a few ways this can be done improperly, which could jeopardize the legal process and allow the tenant to remain in their unit.

Eviction for Cause

California state law clearly defines the reasons for which a landlord may initiate an eviction procedure against a troublesome tenant. Such reasons may include:

  • Nonpayment of rent
  • Lease violation
  • Property damage
  • Conducting illegal activities on the property
  • Expiration of lease

While the list above is not exhaustive, a landlord may not attempt to evict a tenant for just any reason or following any kind of dispute. In particular, it is illegal for a landlord to engage in a retaliatory eviction; that is, to try to evict a tenant after they have reported the landlord to relevant authorities in relation to some violations.

Must Give Proper Notice

In order to be able to legally evict a tenant in California, a landlord must properly end the tenancy by providing the tenant with a written notice for termination. Depending on the cause of termination, a landlord must provide the notice far enough with advance. In the case of termination with a cause, a kind of notice that a landlord is obliged to give to the tenant may include:

  • Three-day notice to pay rent – informing the tenant that he or she has 3 days to pay the outstanding rent in full. In the case of non-payment, the landlord may file an eviction lawsuit
  • Three-day notice to cure – handed over in the case of a lease or rental agreement violation, it informs the tenant that he or she has 3 days to correct the misconduct
  • Three-day unconditional quit notice  can only be used in case of serious violations that cannot be amended, this notice informs a tenant that he or she has 3 days to leave the premises
  • Thirty-Day or Sixty Day Notice– Used for a no fault eviction if there is no lease or the lease has expired. The landlord does not have to provide a reason for the eviction.

Self-Help Eviction

Self-help eviction describes any action on the part of a landlord to evict a tenant while ignoring the established legal process. Using any of these tactics can result in significant legal penalties for the offending landlord. Self-help eviction tactics may include:

  • Changing the locks on the tenant’s doors
  • Turning off the tenant’s utilities such as electricity or water
  • Intimidating the tenant in order to coerce them to leave the premises
  • Entering the leased property during the tenant’s absence and removing all of the tenant’s possessions

Carroll Law Office – Representing Interests of Landlords and Tenants

Disputes between a landlord and a tenant can often be complicated and stressful for both sides. In addition to the general principles outlined above there can be other laws or regulations that apply to your particular case since some cities have enacted their own rent control laws and some types of housing have specific governing rules.

Carroll Law Office recognizes that California state law guarantees rights of and protections for both parties in such conflicts. Therefore, whether you are a landlord struggling with a troublesome tenant or a tenant facing wrongful eviction, do not hesitate to contact us. You can count on impartial and thorough approach to your case and personal circumstances and conscientious representation of your interests.

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