In California, while we are a tenant friendly state, there are a number of reasons a landlord can successfully evict a tenant. There are evictions for cause, meaning the tenant has somehow acted in a fashion that would warrant an eviction. There are evictions without cause, which are limited in some rent controlled areas, in which the landlord simply wishes to regain his property through no fault of the tenant. The reasons for evictions in California vary widely and no two eviction cases are ever the same.
Examples of Evictions for Cause are:
- Failure to pay the rent
- Violation of a covenant of the rental agreement (such as getting an unauthorized pet or moving additional people into the rental unit without authorization)
- Refusing the landlord access as required for inspections and repairs
- Performing illegal acts on the premises
- Intentional damage of the rental unit
- Interference with the quiet enjoyment of other tenants and neighbors
In most of these cases a landlord would serve the tenants with a 3-Day Notice of one form or another. If a tenant has failed to timely pay the rent the landlord would serve them with a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. If a tenant has violated a covenant of the rental agreement or refused access to the property for repairs or inspections a landlord would serve them with a 3-Day Notice to Perform Covenants or Quit. These are curable notices. What this means is that the tenant may remain in the property after the 3 days if, and only if, they comply fully with the demand of the notice. If the tenant fails to perform pursuant to the notice and fails to vacate the landlord would then file an Unlawful Detainer Action with the local superior court to proceed with evicting the tenant.
If a tenant is willfully and maliciously damaging a rental property, performing illegal acts in the rental property or interfering with the quiet enjoyment of other tenants and neighbors a landlord would serve them a 3-Day Notice to Quit. In this instance it is an incurable notice. This means that there is no option for the tenant but to vacate the unit within 3 days or face a legal proceeding. If the tenant fails to vacate the landlord would then file an Unlawful Detainer Action with the local superior court to proceed with evicting the tenant.
Examples of Evictions without Cause:
- When the landlord wants the rental property back to move into himself
- When the landlord wants the rental property back to move a family member into
- When the government has issued an order to the landlord to have the rental unit vacated
In these cases a landlord would serve the tenant with a 30 or 60 Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy. If a tenant has been in the property less than one year at the time of service of the notice a 30-Day Notice would be sufficient. If the tenant has been in the property for one year and one minute or more the landlord must serve a 60-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy. The only exception to this rule would be a tenant at will who has never had any agreement with the landlord to pay rent.
A landlord may also evict a tenant at the natural expiration of a fixed term lease. In most instances the lease will require no notice in advance and the landlord may proceed to an Unlawful Detainer Action the very next court day after the date of expiration. However, some rental agreements have clauses that require 30 days notice of non-renewal. To proceed with an eviction after expiration of a fixed term lease you must first know the requirements of your lease agreement.
While there are a number of reasons to evict a tenant in California, there are limitations. For example, you cannot evict a tenant as retaliation for protected acts. A tenant also cannot be evicted because they have gotten a service animal or made reasonable modifications to the home to make it handicap accessible.
Examples of Protected Acts:
- Requesting repairs
- Making Complaints about issues of habitability or the like
- Complaining to an agency about habitability issues in the home
A tenant is protected from no-cause evictions for 180 days after they have performed the protected act. This does not, however, protect a tenant from an eviction for cause. If the tenant has requested repairs and later gets an unauthorized dog a landlord can still serve the tenant with a 3-Day Notice to Perform Covenants, regardless of the time since the repair requests were made.
The reasons to evict a tenant in California will vary case by case, and not all reasons are here listed, simply the most common. If you have a situation that is not listed above call our experts and ask for assistance. Express Evictions’ knowledgeable team can be contacted at (800) 491-1951 for free eviction consultations.