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Ask CalAttorney2 Your Own Question
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing both landlords and tenants in residential and commercial property disputes.
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Nello, im the master tenant and the only one on the lease.

Customer Question

im the master tenant and the only one on the lease.
i, had 2 people move in to house sit while i was on business trips.
we agreed that when on a business trip. they would not have to pay rent,
if, i did not go [ for that month] they had to pay rent.
this worked for the 1st 2 months. Then, i didnt have a business trip for a good bit
of time and they would not pay rent. one lie after another non stop. by nov.2015
i was done.
in nov.2015. i told them they had to leave and be out of the apt by feb.2016.
more then enough time to pack and get out.
jan.2016. wrote to them and talked to them 4 times about this.
[ each time they wanted to talk before feb.2016. i gave them written notice
and verbel.
looking at the date now, they are still not out.
can i call the cops, to get them out?
they need to leave.
i, have a job coming up and im getting ready to shut the apt up.
as, in cleaning crew, sheets over everything, plants moved, everything in a wall plug
is pulled, the lights cut off and PG&E said to cut everything off before going.
can i do that???? they do not have the right to stay. its not there place and its getting nasty. pls, help.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

I am sorry to learn of this situation.

Unfortunately, you cannot use "self help" measures to force them to leave (shut off power, change the locks, etc.).

You must use the court system to forcibly evict your tenants. Understanding that you are going to be leaving for a period of time, you may want to contract with a local landlord/tenant attorney to manage this matter for you, but you must follow the proper procedure - failure to do so will result in a judgment against you for wrongful eviction, and you will end up owing the tenant damages!

The overall process looks like this:

  • "Eviction" is a word that is often misused and it leads to a lot of confusion, to help, here are the steps in terminating a tenancy:

    Terminating a tenancy-

    1) Notice: The first step in any termination is giving notice, the landlord can simply give notice that they no longer want the tenant to live there (this is usually 30 days, or 60 days, and it can be done for no reason whatsoever, there is no fault, and while the tenant must relocate, they are not being "evicted" and there is no blemish on their rental history), they can give a "notice to pay or quit" (usually 3 day or 5 day depending on the state, and the tenant has this amount of time to pay rent that they missed or move out), "notice to "cure or quit" (the tenant has breached the lease - broken something, noisy, etc. and must stop it or fix it within the notice period, again 3 days, 5 days, or 10 days), or a "notice to quit" (this is a 3 day or 5 day notice that says the tenant has messed up so badly they can do nothing but move out within the notice period - there is no chance to "cure" - this often happens when there is illegal activity on the property).

    2) Unlawful detainer/forcible entry and detainer (this is the legal proceeding where the landlord goes to court and sues the tenant to get possession - the tenant has an opportunity to appear and defend the action, common defenses include improper notice, breach of the lease (such as failure to maintain the property - "inhabitable conditions"). If the tenant answers the complaint, the parties can take "discovery" from one another and get additional information before a court trial before a judge.

    3) A judgment of possession/writ of eviction - if the landlord wins the trial, they get a judgment of possession and the court will issue a "writ of eviction."

    4) Forcible eviction - this happens when the Sheriff or Constable serves the writ of eviction - some jurisdictions give a courtesy notice the day or two before the eviction, others do not, but the end result is the sheriff overseeing the landlord's movers removing all of the tenant's possessions from the property and placing them on the curb, and the tenants are forcibly removed from the property. At that point, the landlord can change the locks and the tenant can no longer return (They have been "evicted").

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