The state of California does allow a landlord to sue for unpaid rent. If you have a written lease or not, you'll need to follow the eviction process in order to sue for back rent.

Some states will consider an oral lease agreement between a landlord and tenant to be legally binding. Often it will be the same as a month-to-month lease. Even if there is no written paperwork for a lease, the tenant is legally required to give a written 30-day notice before they move out. The rent is due during that period.

If they refuse to pay rent and refuse to leave, you'll need to file a complaint with the court system. The court will give the tenant time to respond and a hearing will allow both sides to tell their story. In some cases, you may ask the judge to award you not only the unpaid rent, but the fees associated with the suit as well.

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POSTED January 24 2014 10:50 AM

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