You never want to have to deal with a problem tenant, but sometimes it's impossible to avoid. California law gives a landlord the ability to legally evict a tenant by following a precise eviction process. It's not overly complicated, although getting a lawyer would help if you are not familiar with civil suits.
Determine the reason for a legal eviction. You cannot evict a tenant without just cause in California. You must be able to prove one or more of the following reasons for eviction: non-payment of rent, breach of lease, end of lease, threat to safety, noise disturbance, or damaged property.
Send a written notice to quit. This notice is sent before you file an eviction notice in California. A written notice must include a few pieces of information: the reason for eviction, a remedy if possible, and the date to move out. The minimum notice you can give for non-payment of rent, breach of lease, damage, or disturbances is three days. A 30-day notice is used at the end of a lease term, or for month-to-month leases. A 60-day notice is required if a month-to-month lease goes beyond one year. A 90-day notice is given to tenants using Section 8 vouchers.
Wait for the notice time period to expire. If the tenant has not left the property yet, it is time to file for the eviction. Go to the county courthouse and complete three Judicial Council forms. These forms are SUM-130, UD-100, and CM-010. The filing fee ranges from $160 to $307, depending on the amount of rent owed.
Prepare for the trial. After you file the eviction notice with the court clerk, the tenant receives a summon. The tenant can either answer the eviction compliant or disregard it. If he disregards it, you will be awarded a default judgment for the eviction, as well as back rent and legal fees.