What Must a Landlord Do to Evict a Tenant for Unpaid Rent?

Your landlord serves you with a 3-day notice because you have not paid the rent. For some reason, you forgot to pay the rent, you can’t pay the rent, or you believe that the rent should be withheld. You haven’t contacted the landlord or the landlord’s agent to explain the situation and come to an agreement. The three days are now over.

Untitled design (9)What must a landlord do to evict a tenant for unpaid rent? Basically, the landlord must use court procedures. These court procedures include a filing and serving of an Unlawful Detainer. (Read an overview of the eviction process is in my post “What Happens in the Eviction Process?”)  Court procedures allow the tenant to be heard in the eviction process.


What the Landlord May NOT Do

Here’s what the landlord may NOT do when trying to evict you. He may not physically remove you. He may not lock you out of your home. He may not seize your belongings. He may not cut off your utilities such as water or electricity. He may not remove the doors or windows from your home.

Fighting for Your Renter’s Rights

Using the court system means that there are rules for how the paperwork should be filled out and how you should receive the notices. Sometimes a landlord will use an attorney who knows the legal procedures. You may want to hire an attorney yourself who is experienced in the landlord-tenant law so that you are on a level playing field.

Sometimes the landlord will do their legal work themselves, and there can be errors. You may want to hire an attorney who knows the law and can look for those errors. No matter what you do, just remember that an eviction is a court procedure. You should know your renter’s rights in order to protect yourself.

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Mary Catherine Wiederhold

Real Estate Attorney
1458 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

Mary Catherine Wiederhold
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