California Landlord Rights in the Eviction Process

By Ben O'Connell
California law provides rights for landlords and tenants in the eviction process.
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California law provides protection for tenants in rented properties so a landlord cannot just evict a tenant without a suitable reason and without following the correct procedure. If you know your rights as a landlord, though, you will be able to evict a tenant, but it is important to know the reasons for which you can evict a tenant, details of giving notice and the procedure for filing an unlawful detainer.

Reasons for Eviction

A landlord has the right to evict a tenant if he is behind on the rent, if the tenant breaks a condition of the lease and does not resolve the problem, if the tenant causes damage that lowers the value of the property, if the tenant disturbs other tenants and is a constant nuisance, or if the tenant uses the property to do something illegal. Also the landlord may evict a tenant in most cities if the tenant stays after the lease is up or if the landlord cancels the rental agreement. These two reasons may not be sufficient in rent-controlled areas, which can be checked on the Housing Rights website (see Resource).


A landlord has the right to evict a tenant, but must provide written notice in order to evict him. Different notices are used depending on the circumstances, but all must include the full name of the tenant, the address of the property, specific details of the notice and how it can be resolved if possible and the landlord's signature with the date. Notice must be served by the landlord or somebody over the age of 18 and must be done in one of three ways. Notice can be handed to the tenant personally, it can be given to somebody over the age of 18 at the house and mailed to the tenant, or it can be fixed to the front door and mailed to the tenant.

Types of Notice

A three-day notice to pay rent or quit can be used if the tenant is behind on rent while a three-day notice to perform covenants or quit can be used if a condition of the lease is being broken and could be resolved. A three-day notice to quit can be used if there have been continuing issues of damage, illegal activity or nuisance to other tenants. A landlord has the right to end a tenancy where there have been no problems, but she must give 30 days notice to quit or 60 days notice to quit if the tenant has been there for a year or more. In subsidized housing, 90 days notice must be given.

Unlawful Detainer

If a tenant refuses to do what the notice asks then the landlord has the right to file an unlawful detainer when the notice period ends. This is a lawsuit, and if the judge agrees with you or the tenant does not respond, then the sheriff can physically remove the tenant from the property. Remember, it is illegal for a landlord to evict a tenant without an unlawful detainer. Even if the rent is months behind, the landlord cannot physically evict a tenant. You must go through the courts.

About the Author

Ben O'Connell has been writing for a year and covers everything from sports to music to politics. His work has been published on several websites and the 'Sunderland Echo' newspaper from his home in the North East of England. He is currently completing a master's degree in journalism.