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Evicting a commercial tenant in California

Even with a lease, a landlord cannot always trust the other party to follow through. Perhaps you have a commercial tenant in a property here in California who owes back rent or otherwise violated the terms of the lease you and the tenant signed. You may already know that you have grounds for eviction, but need help with the process.

First, you need to know that you cannot just change the locks. Sheriff's Departments across California are the ones who do the evicting. You must go through a legal process in order to avoid ending up in litigation for violating your tenant's rights.

Before you can seek an unlawful detainer, you have to give notice to your tenant and wait out the timeframe in that notice. If the tenant fails to get back into compliance with the lease, you may then go to the courts for an order allowing the sheriff to evict your tenant. Once you file for and obtain an unlawful detainer, you will have more time to wait since your tenant receives five days to answer.

If the tenant fails to file an answer with the court, you may obtain the right to have your tenant evicted without further notice. If the tenant responds by filing an answer, you will need to obtain a court date that will be held no later than 20 days later. Your tenant might be able to get additional time to vacate from the court, but otherwise, the issue should be resolved relatively quickly.

In order to make sure that you follow all of the legalities to the letter, it may be beneficial to involve an attorney in your pursuit of an eviction. Otherwise, you may have to go through the process again, and your commercial tenant may remain on the premises longer than you would like. It may not seem like it in the midst of the process, but the California laws governing eviction are meant to protect you as much as the tenant.

Source: placer.courts.ca.gov, "Unlawful Detainer (eviction) Overview", Accessed on Oct. 7, 2017

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