How to Evict a Commercial Tenant in California

In California, a commercial landlord may need legal expertise when they need to file an unlawful detainer or eviction lawsuit. Certain law firms specialize in evicting commercial tenants who don’t pay the rent or otherwise violate a lease.

In California, commercial landlords must follow certain legal procedures before they can get a tenant out of their property. Although these do not cover all possible situations, here are some cases that can be handy in the right circumstances:

  1. Legal Reason to Evict the Tenant

Commercial eviction proceedings are usually the result of a breach of contract. Landlords most often file for eviction when tenants don’t pay rent, but in some cases, the tenant misuse of the property causes the landlord’s discontent.

The main issue with the eviction is whether the rental agreement has been violated in some way. The rental agreement will usually include the amount of rent and date of the rental payment, the proper use of the property, and other details that the landlord sees fit to include. The basis of the eviction program is if the tenants violate any part of the agreement.

  1. Draft a 3-day notice

If your tenant does not continue to pay the rent or breaks some other part of the lease agreement, you can send a 3-day notice to pay up or move out. The notice must specify the amount due, name and address of the person owing the rent, along with whom the rent must be paid to. If the payment is not made within three days of receipt of the notice, the notice of the intent to confiscate the property also needs to be provided in the notice.

In California, if a commercial tenant is legally evicted, he or she must pay at least 20 percent of the premium rent payment. However, it is vital to specify in the notice how much rent needs to be paid. If you charge any more rent than actually owed, and the tenant pays the additional rent, the tenant will probably win the eviction proceedings. Thus, he will be able to sue you for legal fees.

  1. Serve the 3-day notice to the tenant

It is important to give notice to the tenant in person. If you are unable to do so, then the notice should be left to someone over the age of 18 in addition to sending an additional copy to the tenant by email. If you cannot do that either, then you can post it in a visible location of the property and mail the additional copy to the tenant. If the notice is served directly to the tenant, the effective date is up to three days. However, the effective date of the notice may change depending on how the notice was delivered. Also, if the notice is provided via mail, it is advised to add five more days from the date of mailing.

  1. File an Unlawful Detainer Complaint

Landlords have the right to file an unlawful detainer complaint if the tenants do not pay the rent or if they illegally terminate the lease. It is always advised to hire a real estate attorney to ensure the accuracy of filing commercial evictions and to avoid having to fill out complex legal forms. If the commercial eviction is legally unwarranted, then tenants can successfully challenge it.

Landlords should file the following documents in the court to proceed with the process of eviction:

  • A copy of the lease agreement
  • The unlawful detainer complaint
  • A copy of the 3-day notice
  • 3 days’ notice service proof
  • Other legal forms may be required
  1. Take the issue to trial

Your attorney and your tenant’s attorney need to set a court date for trial after your tenant responds to the summons and decides to compete for the California Eviction Process. If the case is brought to trial you should hire a lawyer to defend yourself, and this happens usually within 30 days of the tenant’s response. If the tenant wins the case, they can sue you for legal fees and have the effect of legal protection for the tenant.

In contrast, if you win the trial, you will be compensated with the unpaid rent and other damages as stated in the lease agreement. The tenant may seek an additional 41 days if they lost but will be forced to pay the appropriate amount of rent before that.

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