How to Evict Tenants Without a Contract & California Laws

By Tiffany Garden
California treats tenants without contracts as month-to-month tenants.

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There are some situations where a tenant is living in your rental unit without a written contract. California considers this a month-to-month tenancy, unless the oral or implied agreement is for a different time period. California's Landlord and Tenant Act outlines the process of a legal eviction, from the notice periods required for each step to the documents needed to prove the eviction. A tenant without a contract can be evicted for one of two reasons--ending the tenancy or nonpayment of rent.

Serve your tenant with a written notice. The notice informs the tenant to leave the property by the end of the notice period, or you will proceed with the eviction procedure. The reason for eviction and move-out date are required to be on the written notice. Nonpayment evictions need an opportunity to restore the tenancy by paying all back rent by the end of the notice period. The notice period for ending a month-to-month tenancy is thirty days for a tenant living in the property for less than a year, and sixty days for a tenant living in the unit for more than a year. Section 8 tenants require 90 days' notice.

File forms SUM-130, UD-100 and CM-010 at the California civil court that holds jurisdiction over the rental property's location. The forms are available online or at the court clerk's office. These forms start the Unlawful Detainer case, suing the tenant for rights to your property.

Serve the tenant with a summons. Unlike the written notice, you cannot serve the tenant a summons directly. The court might have a constable or sheriff available for delivering the summons, you can have a friend over the age of 18 serve the summons or your can hire a private process server. An affidavit of service form is filed by the party that serves the tenant. If service cannot be completed by hand delivery, the server posts the notice on the front door of the residence and sends a copy certified mail.

Attend the hearing. Bring copies of all evidence proving that the eviction is for just cause. In the case of an oral contract, write down the implied or stated agreement. Also provide a copy of the written notice, complaint, and any unpaid rental invoices or a rent ledger. Present the evidence and argue your side of the case. If the tenant does not show up, you will receive a default judgment.

Take the Judgment of Possession and file form EJ-130 with the court clerk after the hearing. This is a Writ of Possession to receive legal possession of your rental unit. Deliver the Writ to the sheriff. The tenant has five days to move out once the case is ruled against him. If the tenant still is in the premises, accompany the sheriff during the execution of the writ.

About the Author

Tiffany Garden has been a freelance writer since 2002, working in the commercial copywriting field. She has been published in a number of technical and gaming magazines, as well as on numerous websites. She also runs her own websites on a number of subjects, runs a handcrafted jewelry business and is a CompTIA A+ Certified computer technician.

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