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Tenants, Evictions, and Unlawful Detainer, Oh My!

Ventura Eviction Notice On DoorClassified among the more complex elements of owning Ventura rental properties is comprehending the concept of unlawful detainer. By definition, an unlawful detainer refers to a tenant who continues to live in a rental property even after having no legal right to do so. When an instance of unlawful detainer has happened, rental property owners can then use it as a legal basis to begin the eviction process. But evicting a tenant, depending on unlawful detainer, requires a court case and, in some cases, a jury trial. Hereinafter, we’ll review the basics of lawful detainer and some examples of an unlawful detainer situation – and what to do when it occurs.

A Legal Basis for Eviction

For various rental property owners, the concept of unlawful detainer will commonly become relevant if you must evict a tenant. Although unlawful detainer is not the only legal basis for eviction, it does grant landlords the way to sue for a tenant’s removal. Evicting a tenant is oftentimes a sensitive situation, and there are specific rules and regulations in every state that must be carefully followed. When a tenant has possession of the property, a landlord cannot only kick them out – for just any reason. This covers violating the lease, not paying rent, or even if you cancel the lease. Alternatively, it’s essential to securely document the situation and understand your legal basis for eviction before making your case to the appropriate local courts.

There are numerous situations in which unlawful detainer can apply. Keep reading to find out more about the three most usual.

Example 1: The tenant refuses to leave after the lease ends.

Included in the most prevalent rationales you might use unlawful detainer to evict a tenant is if the tenant refuses to move out even after the lease has expired. Legally, you cannot force a tenant to move out whenever their lease ends. Changing the locks, calling the sheriff, or any other attempts to do so are illegal and could end up with you being sued by your tenant instead. But rather, if you have a tenant who refuses to move out, you should document the situation and file a petition with the local court. You must moreover ensure that your tenants are served with the court documents. Accordingly, you will have to follow the eviction process laid out by the court system to get a judge’s ruling before moving forward with the rest of the eviction process.

Example 2: The tenant stops paying rent.

Another reason to utilize unlawful detainer to evict a tenant is that they halt or stop paying their rent. Nonpayment of rent is a usual incident and has several different root causes. Various tenants may be waiting for paychecks or may simply forget. But really, if you have a tenant who has not paid their rent after multiple reminders and requests, you may need to resort to eviction. If that happens, keep in mind to primarily follow any grace period set out in your lease, and grant your tenant one more chance to pay. If you don’t, your petition may not be a success in court.

Example 3: The tenant refuses to leave after the landlord terminates the lease.

An unlawful detainer may result if your tenant refuses to move out even after you have terminated your lease with them. There are multiple reasons why a landlord may terminate a lease, whether as a result of the tenant violating one or more terms or for other reasons. If you must terminate a lease, and your tenant refuses to leave, you can then apply the legal basis of unlawful detainer to petition the court to order them to move out. Regardless, ensure to document everything and follow the legal process step by step. Even a clear situation of unlawful detainer is not an excuse to violate a tenant’s rights.

Once you have a judgment from the court, you will usually receive a writ that gives your tenant one more chance to move out of your rental property voluntarily. In various states, this writ is delivered to your tenant by local law enforcement, not by you directly. With a judgment and a writ in hand, you can then hire the aid of law enforcement to remove your tenant and regain possession of your property.

Though they are unfortunately a common part of owning rental property, evictions are a time-consuming legal process that can swiftly turn into a serious hassle. If you need support with a tenant who is in violation of their lease or refuses to leave, why not give Real Property Management Limitless a call? Our professionals can help you work on the eviction process safely and legally and get your property back in your possession as quickly as possible. To chat with a Ventura property manager, contact us online or call at 805-702-7800 today!

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