Most California unlawful detainer proceedings are filed by the landlord because the tenant has failed to pay the rent. No matter what the reason, before a landlord can file an unlawful detainer proceeding to evict a tenant, the tenant’s right to possession of the property must be terminated. Notice of this termination must be provided in writing and a landlord must follow strict procedures to legally obtain possession of the premises. The unlawful detainer process can take from 20 to 45 days, and sometimes more depending upon the court branch in which the case is filed.
There are many reasons a landlord may want to terminate a renter’s tenancy. They include:
- Nonpayment of rent,
- A violation of the rental or lease agreement,
- Renter engaging in illegal activity, or
- The property being sold.
Generally speaking, the type of situation will determine the type of notice required to be given to the tenant. In California, when rent is unpaid, a 3-day notice can be provided to the tenant. In situations when the tenant has paid the rent but the landlord wants the tenant to move, a 30-day notice is required. Tenancies over one year require 60 days notice. (This rule had previously expired effective 1/1/06, but became effective again 1/1/07.) With governmental subsidized tenancies, a longer 90-day notice is required. Certain areas may also be under rent control which imposes specific restrictions and regulations between landlords and their tenants.