If you are a landlord, then you will need to have the details of a Rancho Santa Margarita eviction lawyer at hand sooner or later. It’s hard to imagine having trouble with your tenants when all is going well, but even the most careful landlords can be faced with the harsh reality of needing to evict a tenant who does not pay.
When you find yourself in that position you will need to understand both your own legal rights and those of your tenant. A professional Rancho Santa Margarita eviction lawyer can guide you through the legal system so that you take the right steps at the right time, filing the paperwork when needed so that you get your property back and the money you are owed with the least hassle possible.
This guide will explain everything you need to know about evictions – and why they are so difficult to navigate.
If you want your tenants to leave a property in Rancho Santa Margarita, then the first step is to issue them with a notice asking them to leave. Should they refuse to do so, or meet other terms such as paying rent that is due, then you can next ask your Rancho Santa Margarita eviction lawyer to go to Superior Court and file an Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit.
This will allow you to be the plaintiff in a lawsuit against your tenant, who will become the defendant. Legal process will follow swiftly from that point. A Summons and Complaint will be served to the defendant, who has five days to respond. If they do not do so, you will be before a judge in 20 days to have your case heard. A swift decision will follow.
Don’t be tempted to take matters into your own hands. It has been known for landlords to try to change the locks or even throw a tenant’s property out forcibly, but this is against the law. You could end up getting into trouble yourself if you do not follow the legal process.
Eviction Notices in Rancho Santa Margarita
To start the eviction process, you need to serve that eviction notice first. If you don’t serve it then you are contravening the rights of your tenants, and they won’t even be obligated to leave. It will make things very hard for you if the notice is not done correctly.
You should ask your Rancho Santa Margarita eviction lawyer to take a look over the wording before you issue it. The law provides a particular outline which needs to be followed. It will depend on how long the tenant has been living at your property, what is set out in your rental agreement, what kind of property it is, and other similar factors.
If you get any part of the notice wrong, you might end up giving your tenant the legal right to stay at the property longer. This is why it is important to be sure.
This is a notice which really does what it says: your 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit gives your tenant an extra three days to come up with a missing rent payment or leave the property and void their rental agreement.
Your aim, in this case, will be either to get the money that you are owed or remove the tenant from your Rancho Santa Margarita property so that you can rent it out to someone who will pay. The day after the tenant fails to pay the rent, you will be able to serve the notice, so do so as quickly as you are able. The only exception is that it can’t be served on a court holiday or a weekend, so you may have to wait a little longer if this would be the case.
The day after your notice has been served, the three-day period begins. Just as it sounds, your tenant has three days to fulfill the terms of your demand.
Make sure to include the following details in your notice:
- The total amount of rent that is owed – do not include other bills or fees that may have accrued
- Your name, address, and telephone number, or that of the person who must be paid
- Your availability if you are expecting payment in person, or banking details if you would like them to pay via bank transfer
You can also use a 3 Day Notice for other violations beyond failure to pay rent. For example, if you find out that your tenant has kept a pet on the property when your rental agreement states that they should not, this same approach may apply. If you wish to use it for this purpose, make sure that you focus on the violation and how you expect them to resolve it, in the place of the overdue rent.
If your tenant has been living at the property for less than a year with a tenancy agreement which rolls month to month, then you can use a 30 Day Notice to Vacate or Quit. There are some exceptions, however, so check out the next section to see whether you should go for a 30 or 60 Day notice.
The law in Rancho Santa Margarita requires you to serve a written notice, but you aren’t required to include a reason for wanting to end the lease this time. Just be aware that if you have an ongoing dispute with the tenant, they may be able to protest against the eviction: you cannot by law evict someone for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. You can’t throw someone out just because you don’t like them!
Make sure not to accept any rental payments that would cover the notice period. If you do, your notice will be invalidated and you will have to start over again. If the tenant does send a payment, return it as soon as you are able to.
In order to calculate the 30 days, start from the day after you have served the notice. You can count weekends and holidays, but only until you get to the end of the notice period. The last day of the notice must be a business day, so if it is not, the tenant has until the next available business day to finish moving out.
Now let’s look at the 60 Day notice and why you might use it instead. Your Rancho Santa Margarita eviction lawyer will be able to advise you on what your options are, but usually, it is used if your tenant falls outside of the requirements listed under the 30 Day Notice.
There is an exception to this rule, however, and it has to do with the sale of the property. If you are evicting them to sell it, you might be able to revert back to 30 days – but only if all of the following conditions are met:
- The sale has been legally agreed
- The funds are in escrow, but it has not been more than 120 days since they were placed in escrow
- The new owner genuinely intends to live at the address for a full year after the sale
In order to calculate the notice period, just use the same rules that we described under the 30 Day Notice. Everything is the same, including the fact that it must only end on a business day.
If your tenants are judged to be more at risk, they may have been receiving a subsidized tenancy under Section 8. In this case, it is obviously important to give them enough time to find another place to stay. This is why a 90-Day Notice must be used instead of a shorter period.
The calculations are made in the same way that you will by now be used to, but you must make sure not to try to change anything about the tenancy after serving the notice. Some landlords have tried to raise the rent, for example, but this would be unfair and illegal.
Make sure that you have a Rancho Santa Margarita eviction lawyer on hand to ensure that your tenants do move out on time. If they do not, you will need to enforce the eviction with a lawsuit.
The next step is getting your Rancho Santa Margarita eviction lawyer to file an Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit – the next phase of the process which we referenced earlier. Around half of all cases tend to be uncontested, which is when the tenant does not respond to the lawsuit. If this is the case, the Sheriff will issue a 5-Day Notice to Vacate, posted on the front door of the property, and your work is done.
If you are found to be trying to intimidate your tenant or force them to leave by yourself, you could be faced with a fine of as much as $200 per day. You could also be held liable for damages that might arise, for example, if you have left your tenant’s belongings outside of the property.
Now you know all of the necessary details for residential evictions in Rancho Santa Margarita, and you can see how the process might get very confusing without the help of a qualified eviction lawyer. The important thing to note is that you must respect the rights of your tenants in order to avoid getting into trouble yourself.
The courts won’t reward you for taking the law into your own hands. However, they are sympathetic to the fact that you want to regain access to your investment as soon as possible, so they will attempt to make the process go as swiftly and smoothly as possible.
When you are the landlord of a commercial property, things may be a bit more complicated. Evicting a tenant could mean stripping them of their livelihood since their customers may be based locally and will not be able to find them if they no longer have a physical address.
But you also have to remember that it is the tenant’s own fault if they are not able to keep up with rent payments. You also need to be paid for your property, so you cannot allow them to stay without paying rent. The only reason you can evict a tenant before their rental agreement is up is if they have broken the terms of said agreement – as in, failing to pay rent or violating it in another way.
When serving notice, make sure to be clear on how much money you reasonably expect them to pay up, or what else they need to do in order to prevent the eviction from taking place. Make it clear that they understand that a partial payment will not be enough to stop the eviction.
If you do receive the full amount of rent that you are owed, then you must allow the tenants to remain on the property, as they have fulfilled their part.
If this does not happen, then your Rancho Santa Margarita eviction lawyer will help you out with the Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit, just as we have seen for the residential cases. After following the due process, including going before the judge if you need to, you should receive vindication and have the tenant evicted. This will allow you to replace them with someone who will pay the rent on time.
This is the court that you will need to go to for evictions in Rancho Santa Margarita:
SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA
COUNTY OF ORANGE – Rancho Santa Margarita Court
4601 JAMBOREE ROAD
NEWPORT BEACH, CA 92660-2595
If you are a landlord, then you should contact us today to get help from a Rancho Santa Margarita eviction lawyer. Don’t wait until you are in desperate need of our help – have a conversation with us about your property and your tenants, and let us help you in any way that we can.