7 Reasons to Evict a Tenant in California

Updated 10/4/20

7 reasons to evict a tenant in California

There and many reasons to evict a tenant in California. This is especially true if you consider the many ways tenants can break their rental agreement. There are, however, 7 top reasons or grounds to evict a tenant.

It’s hard to think about having to go through an eviction. I don’t think there’s a landlord alive who actually gets joy out of evicting a family out of their home, at least I certainly hope not. This is a business after all and you should always protect yourself and your valuable rental assets above everything else.

You should always keep in mind that the reasons listed here are for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. Please contact us or your lawyer for your particular case.

Grounds for Immediate Eviction

Not all reasons are created equal. Out of the 7 reasons to evict a tenant in California, there are 3 that I consider having grounds for immediate eviction of the tenant. These 3 reasons can either put yourself, your business, your properties and or your other tenants in danger.

Using the Property for Illegal Activity

Apart from being an important reason to evict a tenant, this one should also be included in your 0 tolerance policy. This can become a very dangerous situation for you and neighboring tenants. These activities can include

  • Drug fabrication and or drug sales on your rental property
  • Suspicious gang activity and or reunions
  • Sex trafficking
  • Illegal business activity

How can you prevent your rental property from being used for illegal activity? The top choice is to execute random inspections. You only need to notify your tenant 24 hours in advance that you intend to come in to inspect your rental property for damages and maintenance issues. If you are confronted with a lot of pushback, you may have a problem.

Another negative side effect of this is your property may start getting a lot of unwanted attention from local law enforcement. This can drive your property and rental value down which is not good! Keep a close eye out for illegal activity on your property. If you suspect something, call the police to get a police report and start the eviction process immediately.

Extensive Damage to your Property

Another 0 tolerance reason to evict a tenant in California is if they cause extensive damage to your property on purpose. You shouldn’t have to deal with this, I know. The reality is though that it does happen and more often than I would like to admit.

One of the main causes of a tenant causing extensive damage to your property is when tenants aren’t happy with the landlord and they “retaliate”.

This can happen when you’d rather not renew their lease for example. They can take offense and cause damage. Here’s what you can do if you’re ever in this situation:

  • Call the police to get a police report
  • Take a lot of pictures
  • Start the eviction process
  • Call your insurance policy to see what your policy covers
  • Fix your property either through your insurance or privately
  • After your evict your tenant, you can file a small claims case against your ex tenant

When bad tenants damage your property, they can affect the value of your rental property.

Failure to Pay Rent

A very common reason to evict a tenant in California starts with a failure to pay rent eviction notice. In California, you can serve your tenant an eviction notice for this reason the following day after rent is due.

If your rental agreement states rent is due on the 3rd of every month, you can serve this notice on the 4th and start the eviction process.

This may not be as serious as the first two reasons to evict a tenant but should also be considered in your 0 tolerance policy as this can affect the flow of your business. You didn’t become a landlord to hand out months of free rent, did you? If your tenant fails to pay you March’s rent, it’s very improbable they will pay you two months worth on April 1st.

You should make a good habit out of serving the initial notice of eviction for non payment of rent regardless if you came to an agreement with your tenant. This way you have options when the 3 (or 15 as of September 1st, 2020 due to AB 3088) day notice expires.

Other Reasons to Evict a Tenant

Now that we’ve discussed the more important reasons to evict a tenant in California, we can go over a few more that you may be able to work the issues out with your tenants. A landlord should always try to negotiate peaceful resolutions with their tenants prior to filing for an eviction.

Failure to Pay Rent Consistently on Time

If your rent is due on a specific day and you see your tenant struggling to pay their rent on time over and over again, try a different approach.

Something you can try is negotiate with your tenant to change the rental due date. If it is due on the 1st but always pays between the 5th and the 8th, then tell them you’re willing to accept rent on the 10th on the condition they sign up for some sort of automatic payment system.

Sure, late rent fees can work too. But that’s an old way of doing things. This generates more tension. More animosity that can eventually boil over to more issues. Instead try the more peaceful and amicable approach. Work with your tenants. This may be worth more if they are really good, hardworking and honest people.

If they just flat out refuse to attempt to find a solution for their repeated tardiness, then it’s probably best you evict them since these problems will just amount to bigger problems. A snowball effect if you will.

Causing a Nuisance

Every one of your tenants and their neighbors have the right to enjoy their place of residence. It’s a basic right. If you have a tenant that is causing a nuisance to others, you have a responsibility as a landlord to handle the situation. If you have a 6 unit apartment complex and have 1 routy tenant, you are running the risk of potentially losing 5 good tenants and getting stuck with the problematic one.

Take neighboring tenant’s complaints seriously. Serve notices to cure or quit if the tenant causing a nuisance broke any parts of your lease. If necessary, get local law enforcement involved to protect your property and neighboring tenants.

Nuisance can be described as:

  • Tenants causing exaggerated amounts of noise between 10PM and 6AM
  • Not picking up after pets (if allowed at all)
  • Tenants smoking in non designated areas
  • Not respecting common areas (such as taking over the pool or laundry room)
  • Constant loud gatherings
  • Not respecting parking spots

Tenants that constantly cause nuisance are bad for business. It’s best to try and avoid them altogether by properly screening all of your tenants. If one slips by your filters, however, you should evict them immediately to avoid spread of further issues with other tenants.

Breach of Contract

Rental agreements come in all shapes and sizes. Everyone claims to have the best. There is no “one size fits all” lease agreement unfortunately which is why it’s so crucial that you have a trusted attorney go over Yours. Not just any attorney either. A landlord attorney. One who has experience evicting tenants and dealing with real estate issues. 

The best place to start is by contacting your local apartment association and have them provide a lease agreement. Then, go over it with your attorney to add specific items you want covered or removed.

This is the only way you can fully guarantee your ability to start the eviction process against problematic tenants that don’t adhere to your agreement.

It’s important to state your grounds for immediate eviction in your contract such as the ones we first covered. The reasons to evict a tenant in California for breach of contract depend heavily on the contract itself which is why it’s so important you have all your points covered.

Some items you may want to consider implementing in your rental agreement include:

  • Occupancy limits
  • Pet policy
  • When rent is due
  • Parking situation
  • Overnight guests
  • Gatherings
  • Smoking
  • Water bed policy
  • Rental unit Inspections

With that said, you should always follow city, county, state and federal ordinances. Make sure you’re also within Federal Housing regulations.

Terminating Leases

Another reason to evict a tenant that is fairly common is lease termination. There are two broad categories to go over but before we do, there are some local and statewide ordinances in place such as AB 1482 that only allows evictions with “just cause” for these situations. In other words, you can’t just evict a tenant because their lease expired in some cases.

Expiration of Lease

When your lease term has run its course, you can notify your tenant in advance that you are not considering renewing their lease. In California, you must notify your tenant 30 days prior to lease expiration date if they have been a resident for less than a year or 60 days notice if 1 year or more.

As previously mentioned, some ordinances prohibit the landlord from terminating a lease unless there is just cause. This includes expiration of a lease in most cases. Check with an attorney to make sure you’re in the clear.

Cancelation of Rental Agreement

You may see the need to cancel a rental agreement at one point or another in your landlord journey. The proper way of doing so would be to serve your tenant proper notice.

A common reason to evict a tenant due to a cancelation of a rental agreement is because you have decided to sell your property. Another reason may be due to a governmental order. Either way, due to ordinances, I advise you check with your attorney to come up with the best approach.

Have you had the unpleasant need to evict a tenant? For what reasons? I’d like to hear about it, especially if the reason isn’t covered on this list!

Thanks for taking the time to read my article and I hope it’s helped.

At Fast Eviction Service, help on any of the issues discussed in this article is simply a click or phone call away. Email intake@fastevict.com or call our office at (800) 686-8686 to discuss your questions for a free evaluation of your case.

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