While I’m not an attorney, I want to spend a little time providing you with some helpful hints on handling the eviction process. Often, I hear people say it took them six or eight months to get someone out of their Visalia rental property, and it was a nightmare.
That’s honestly not accurate.
If you follow all the steps in the eviction process, it shouldn’t take longer than a month or a month and a half. People lose time by negotiating far too long with tenants. Don’t wait five months to start the process. If you begin it right away, you can have it done and the tenant removed in three or four weeks. Be prepared to act quickly.
Serve the Three Day Notice
Start by serving a Three Day Notice to Pay or Quit. You can find a Three Day Notice template online, and it’s a simple document that you can create. Serving this notice does not mean you’re acting to evict the tenant, so you should be prepared to do it as soon as rent is late. If your rent is due on the first, and then you have a grace period through the fifth, serve your Three Day Notice on the sixth. This gives the tenants three days to act.
This might seem rushed, and the tenants will likely find it annoying. But, you’re simply starting the process so you can save yourself time and money if this does go to the full eviction. Once the three days have expired, your tenant will likely have paid rent. If not, you have to move onto the filing of an Unlawful Detainer.
Filing the Unlawful Detainer
We use a third party eviction service if we get to this point. We serve the Three Day Notice, but once those three days are up, if we have not received rent, we turn it over to professionals. They know what they are doing. They fill out the necessary paperwork and file it in court. If you make one wrong move, you can derail the entire process. Hire a professional company or an attorney.
The Unlawful Detainer is a superior court lawsuit, not a small claims issue. So, it’s a big deal. Once the tenants have been served, they have 10 days to respond to the court. If they don’t respond within 10 days with their defense, you can file a Default Judgment. This means the tenants have decided they don’t want to fight the lawsuit. You get a judgment, and then you can go to the sheriff and schedule a date for a lockout. It may take a week or two weeks, and you and the tenant will be notified. You have to be there for this process so you can change the locks.
Tenant Responses and Eviction Trials
Other factors can be involved which may drag the process out. If the tenants respond, a trial will be scheduled. That may delay the eviction another week. Still, it should be shorter than the six months that we’ve heard landlords complain about. When tenants decide to contest the eviction or file a response, make sure you’re working with an eviction service.
Don’t make the mistake of negotiating with the tenant too long. Act quickly, and get professional help.
Evictions stay on a tenant’s record for 10 years. Make sure they know that and hopefully they’ll avoid being in this position. If you have any questions about how to handle evictions, please contact us at The Equity Group.