When a tenant does not pay rent and refused to move out in California, one of the quickest ways to get them out of the rental unit is to file a unlawful detainer lawsuit in order to evict them. To avoid a lengthy, drawn out eviction, it's best to make sure everything is in order and that you don't miss any steps or it may put you back on the amount of time you thought you'd spend on the suit.
The first thing to do is to document everything and make sure that everything is provided to the tenant in writing. If they are not paying rent, you may give them a three-day pay rent or quit notice. If it's a violation of the lease that can be fixed, you may give them a document that provides them three days to do this or leave the premise. Other options are a 30 day or 60 day notice to move out.
If the tenant does not fix the issue and refuses to leave the unit, that is when you will need to take action through the courts. Hiring an eviction lawyer may be prudent at this point to make sure that you file all the necessary paperwork correctly and are not set back because something is not filed correctly. You must arrange for someone to serve the tenant directly.
The tenant has five days to respond to the notice. If they respond to it or not, make sure to have all your documentation in order for the trial. If they do not respond and have not left at the end of the five day period, the sheriff may need to lock them out of the property. Make sure to follow the law by the letter so that you will not be sued by the tenant. Do not get rid of their things, change locks, or cut off the utilities to drive them out.
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