In California if a tenant is occupying a property without permission, or has over-stayed their welcome, the only way to legally force them to vacate is to go through the tenant eviction process. On the other hand, you can pay them to leave, if they do so quickly avoiding a lengthy an expensive tenant eviction proceeding.
The word “eviction” usually brings to mind a long, stressful process ending with sheriff’s deputies knocking on a door and a tenant’s being locked out of the property. But it’s not uncommon for a lease to end early without a formal eviction. Keep this information in mind if you’ve got a tenant who you want out of your rental property, but want to avoid the California tenant eviction process.
How Do You Get a Tenant to Vacate Without the California Tenant Eviction Proceedings?
The answer is quite simple: you have to motivate them to move out voluntarily. “Cash for keys” is a method of getting a tenant to vacate the property willingly. The only leverage you have against a tenant who wants to stay and you don’t want to begin the California tenant eviction proceedings is a “Cash for keys” buyout. Expect to pay one to two months’ rent. Most people will need 1 month and deposit for a new unit in order to move. Start at half that. In the alternative you can you can offer to waive any existing rental debt owed to you. However, if you’re trying to remove a tenant without a California tenant eviction proceeding, it’s likely that they know they have the advantage, and may demand a payment high enough to cover their moving expense including relocation costs, first and last month’s rent, and security deposit costs for a new lease. But, there are times when you might be willing to pay even high amounts, like the following:
Your Tenant has Legitimate Legal Claims Against You
Topping the list is a situation where your tenant has legitimate legal claims against you during the California tenant eviction proceedings. Did you delay a repairing the furnace a little too long last winter? Did you refuse to provide pest extermination when the tenant repeatedly requested it? Did you turn off the utilities? Did you accept rent after the eviction was filed with the court? Those instances may have seemed small at the time, but if they violated tenant rights laws they can and will be held against you in eviction court. You’ll also need to keep in mind actions by landlords that are considered retaliatory like tenant harassment such as entering the rental unit without proper notice, pestering tenant by phone, mail or in person. Carefully review the rental laws for your area, and make sure there are no situations where you might be found at fault.
The California Tenant Eviction Process Would Cost You More
In many areas, once the California tenant eviction process starts it could last for several months and that’s months of rental income you’ll be missing out on. In a situation like that, if you can make a “Cash for Keys” offer to the tenant that’s less than the cost of the California tenant eviction you may come out ahead. Run the numbers, and then use your results to determine how much you should entice your tenant with. The same would apply in a situation where you need the tenant to vacate quickly. This may arise if you are planning to sell the property at a substantial profit but the buyer needs a fast closing and wants the property vacant. In any situation, the question is a simple math problem: Will it cost you more time and or money to evict than it does to offer them cash for keys? If the answer is yes get in touch with your tenant and start negotiating. If they agree, then you should show up to the property on the move-out date, inspect the property, get the keys, and give them the cash.