How to Get Rid of Bad Tenants In California

Being a landlord can turn into a nightmare when the tenants are terrible. Instead of getting consistent rental income, the landlord ends up losing a lot of money due to property damage and unpaid rent. To avoid more stress and frustration, the landlord should promptly remove the bad tenants.

To get rid of terrible tenants, the landlord or property manager may decide to take legal action and go to court. Alternatively, they can increase the rent, offer money (cash for keys), gather evidence of illegal activities by the tenant, assist them in finding a new place to rent, etc. If all these strategies aren’t successful, it may be better to sell the rental occupied by tenants to a cash buyer. 

How to Get Rid of Bad Tenants in California

Evicting bad tenants is an intimidating task, but it’s necessary to ensure the property generates income and avoids negative outcomes. If you need further advice on dealing with bad tenants, this blog has you covered!

A bad tenant is someone renting a property and causing problems for the landlord. Usually, bad tenants fail to pay rent, damage the property, constantly argue with the landlord, and refuse to leave when the lease ends.

Some bad tenants also initiate legal actions against their landlord or property management for minor reasons. Dealing with them is extremely difficult as they are unreasonable.

To avoid these issues, landlords should thoroughly screen potential tenants and maintain open communication with them.

What is a Bad Tenant in California

Evicting a bad tenant is the best way to get rid of them instead of resorting to sneaky ways. However, legal eviction often ends up in court and is very time consuming for the landlord.

According to SparkRental, the process of evicting a bad tenant is composed of five steps and they are the following:

How to Get Tenants to Move Out of Your Rental Property: Eviction Process in California

Before initiating legal eviction proceedings, it’s crucial to serve your bad tenant with a written notice, following local move-out regulations. This notice must outline the issues and the specific actions required from the tenant before a designated deadline.

It’s important to note that eviction cannot be pursued based on factors such as gender, race, religion, marital status, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, family size, or employment status.

File an Eviction Case to the Court

If the bad tenant fails to do the proper actions on the deadline you set on the notice, you may then file a case in court. Usually, you must fill out forms and provide evidence (i.e., receipts) proving that the bad tenant deserves eviction.

This part is super detail-oriented, so it makes sense to hire an attorney to guide you.

File an Eviction Case to the Court in California

Ask for the Eviction’s Trial Date

Most eviction cases end up in court because tenants facing issues submit a response, showing their intent to engage in legal proceedings. In such situations, you’ll need to request a trial date.

Alternatively, the outcome of an eviction case may vary based on how the bad tenant reacts to your filing.

Ask for the Eviction’s Trial Date in California

If they vacate voluntarily, the case gets dismissed. If they fail to respond, you can seek a default judgment and proceed with eviction. However, if the tenant claims financial hardship, the court determines whether the eviction proceeds.

Go to Trial

An eviction trial will occur so the judge can hear both sides. Landlords should prepare as much evidence as possible such as photos, receipts, etc.

Go to Trial in California

Usually, judges make quick decisions. However, sometimes landlords must wait days or weeks for court rulings.

If the verdict benefits the landlord, the bad tenant must leave the property and may owe money.

On the other hand, if the tenant prevails, they can remain on the premises until the lease expires.

The time it takes to kick out tenants differs in each state when it gets to court. In some places, it drags on for more than a year due to uncooperative tenants and a backlog of cases in court.

Because of the long process and the work needed to gather proof, many landlords opt to handle bad tenants themselves. They use various methods, some standard and okay, while others are crafty and underhanded.

Here are some suggestions you may find helpful.

How to Get Rid of Tenants Without Going to Court in California

The first option a landlord can do to get rid of bad tenants is to ask them to move out. Note that this should be done in person, so both parties can speak out and possibly establish a good relationship. Ensure that during this conversation, you get the final word.

Frequently referred to as “cash for keys,” this tactic involves offering tenants a cash incentive in addition to refunding their security deposit.

Consider this: going to court for an eviction could end up costing you significantly more. Think about it – a small sum of money now versus the substantial legal expenses of an eviction.

Cash for keys has shown to be the most successful approach for dealing with bad tenants.

Don’t Renew Tenant’s Lease

You’re not obligated to extend your renter’s lease once it’s up if you choose not to or suspect they’re engaging in unlawful behavior. This condition is usually outlined in the lease agreement.

Yet, it’s crucial to issue non-renewal notifications within the timeframe mandated by state law. Generally, this ranges from 30 to 90 days.

Don’t Renew Tenant’s Lease in California

If your tenant doesn’t have a set lease, bump up the rent to make them less likely to stay. It’s a clever tactic to evict a tenant who keeps breaking lease rules.

Make sure to look into your area’s laws because some places limit how much you can raise rent. These limits are to prevent landlords from being too greedy.

If the tenant still doesn’t leave after the rent hike, at least you’ll get more money for dealing with their trouble.

Some bad tenants don’t want to move out because they don’t know where to go or are already comfortable in your house.

To encourage them to move out and get a new lease in another rental, help them find a new property. Search rentals online or ask around so you can recommend a place for them to move into.

You must provide written notice before entering the rental property, as mandated by most leases. However, you still have another opportunity to uncover proof of unlawful behavior or lease breaches by your tenant.

Apart from inspections, there are other valid reasons to enter the rental property.

If repairs are necessary, arrange to carry them out when the tenant is not present. During this time, inspect for signs of illegal activities or lease violations. Take photographs and notify law enforcement for a thorough investigation, potentially expediting the eviction process.

Serve Notices of Maintenance

As a good property management practice, you must do regular inspections on the rental property to identify things that need repairing or replacement.

If these issues are caused by the tenant, serve them notices to make repairs. Most often, the repairs are expensive, and they can’t pay for them, so they’ll decide to move out instead.

how to sell a house with tenants in it in California

While it’s your responsibility to enhance the property and ensure tenants’ satisfaction, refrain from making upgrades if they withhold rent or cause significant damage. Reserve such actions as a final option for dealing with exceptionally difficult tenants who are uncooperative.

To avoid trouble and keep your freedom, it’s crucial to respect your tenant’s rights, even if they’re difficult to deal with. Here are some actions you should avoid:

  • Removing the bad tenant’s personal belongings while they are away
  • Changing the locks of the house without informing them
  • Turning off their utilities such as water and electricity
What to Avoid When Getting Rid of Terrible Tenants in California

Often, terrible tenants are aggressive with their actions, especially when triggered. They may file a lawsuit against you, which may pose a greater problem than dealing with missed rent and damaged property.

If you’ve tried all the methods mentioned earlier and still can’t remove your bad tenant, it may be best to sell your rental property to a cash buyer. Many cash buyers buy houses with tenants already in place.

You’ll need to inform the cash buyer about the situation and wait for them to decide if they want to make an offer. Usually, selling a rental property with tenants is more successful when dealing with a cash buyer rather than listing it on the local MLS.

Sell Your Rental with Terrible Tenants in it to a Cash Buyer In California

Getting a cash offer for rental properties with difficult tenants is quite straightforward. Just reach out to the cash buyer, let them inspect the rental to determine a fair offer, and then digitally sign the contract they provide.

Once the deal is finalized, the sale will proceed to closing, and you’ll receive your funds in your bank account. Plus, you’ll be rid of your bad tenants.

Real estate, a solid investment for many, has proven its resilience despite occasional setbacks in recent decades. Currently, property prices are steadily rising, affirming its enduring appeal.

To optimize your asset’s growth, minimize capital gains taxes, and secure a lucrative sale, experts generally recommend holding onto your property for at least two years.

However, not everyone has the luxury of time…

Although there may be penalties for selling prematurely, there are legitimate strategies to sell your property, sidestep capital gains taxes, and still profit handsomely.

At JiT Home Buyers, we specialize in facilitating swift, hassle-free sales without the need for traditional real estate agents. We even cover all closing costs, ensuring you receive exactly what we offer.

Simply fill out the form below, and we’ll connect you with our network of local cash buyers who are well-versed in market dynamics and ready to make a fair offer!

For assistance in selling your home, reach out to us at (510) 473-5885. We’re eager to assist you!

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Author: Saini

My name is Saini, and I founded the JiT Home Buyers team with years of experience in the real estate industry. I have assisted numerous sellers in selling their homes quickly, “AS-IS”, and for a fair price.

He’s been featured in multiple publications including Yahoo Finance, GoBankingRates, LegalZoom, The Mortgage Report, Apartment Therapy, US News and World Report, and SuperMoney among others.

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