Before moving forward with an eviction, by law the proper procedures must be followed to notify the tenant that action is going to be taken.

Depending on the circumstance, different notices must be given to notify the tenant that they will need to vacate the property (or do something to remedy the situation if they have broken a term of the lease or rental agreement).

If the tenant is renting on a month-to-month basis, notice to vacate or of a change in rent or in the agreement must be given with a 30-day grace period. In this case there is no need to state a reason for the notice, unless you live in a state that requires a reason. Once this notice is served, the tenant has 30 days to move out or comply with the notice, and then an unlawful detainer, or eviction lawsuit, can be filed.

In California, the steps of eviction are as follows:

  1. Ensure you have legal grounds to evict the tenant or ask them to vacate (either an expired lease or some breach of contract).
  2. Serve the appropriate notice to the tenant.
  3. Allow the notice to expire (usually at least 30 days is required, depending on circumstance).
  4. File legal documents for and unlawful detainer with the court.
  5. Serve the proper legal documents to the tenant.
  6. Allow the tenant to respond to the lawsuit.
  7. Go to court and complete the eviction process.

If a tenant has lived in a property for more than one year, a 60-day notice to vacate is required in California.

Find a template for your notice here:

A template can be followed, but remember that a notice to vacate is simply a letter that contains the information the tenant needs to know: you as the landlord need possession of the property, and the time frame, as well as a reason for the notice if there is one (such as breach of contract or other issue).

As long as proper procedure is followed, the landlord will win the eviction lawsuit, so ensure all legal steps are properly followed.

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