The 4 Fastest Ways to Evict Bad Tenants

Having bad tenants in a property you own is a nightmare, especially when you can’t get them out. There are a few things to know about how to evict a tenant in California. 

Let’s look at the legal process of evicting bad tenants, what not to do, and some ways you can evict tenants quickly (some of which you might not have considered!). 

How to Legally Evict Bad Tenants

In California, there is a particular set of guidelines when trying to evict bad tenants. To avoid making the problem worse and putting yourself or your property at risk, you should follow these steps to evict bad tenants legally:

Send a Notice

Before you can even consider legal action or other strategies, you must first send your bad tenants a notice informing them that they must move out. Here are some of the most common notices:

Pay Rent or Quit Notice

If you have a tenant that hasn’t paid rent in a while, you have the right to issue a 3-day pay rent or quit notice, which tells your tenants that they have three days to pay rent or move out. A pay rent or quit notice is often the first notice landlords issue before pursuing legal action. 

In most situations, landlords can serve this notice the day after rent is late. You have to include some important information on the form and can download one online, like this example from eForms

Perform Covenants or Quit Notice

If you have bad tenants that have destroyed your property, you may be able to serve them a Perform Covenants or Quit (also known as a Perform or Quit) Notice. These notices acknowledge when tenants do something that violates the rental agreement, such as trashing the property, having unauthorized tenants that aren’t on the lease, or any other issues. Under this notice, tenants have three days to correct the problem or move out. 

Move-Out Notice

Lastly, you can serve a move-out notice to bad tenants that gives them 30 days (or 60 days if they have lived in the rental for a year or more) to move out. In many month-to-month situations, you don’t need to give a reason for the move-out notice.

File an Unlawful Detainer Lawsuit

After you successfully issue a notice and the bad tenants don’t comply, you may then be able to file an unlawful detainer. This lengthy legal process involves filling out the correct forms, filing them with the court, and serving them to the tenant. The bad tenants also have an opportunity to respond, which can drag the trial on even longer. 

If a landlord is granted possession of the property, the judge will issue a “lockout date,” which is when the tenants need to be out of the property. 

What Not to Do When Evicting Tenants

Although it may feel frustrating and nearly impossible to evict bad tenants, there are a few things you can’t legally do when evicting tenants. 

Self-help eviction refers to taking action on your own without taking the necessary steps. This could include:

  • Changing the locks
  • Turning off/canceling utilities
  • Blocking access to the property
  • Throwing out a tenant’s belongings
  • Harassing the tenant

These self-help strategies can make the situation worse and put you and your property in danger.

The concept of landlord-tenant law in relation to eviction rights.

4 Ways to Evict Tenants Quickly

As you can tell, the process for evicting bad tenants is a lengthy one, especially when you involve the court and file a lawsuit that could drag on for months. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to evict tenants quickly. Here are some ideas:

Raise the Rent

If your bad tenant is just downright annoying, you could consider significantly raising the rent to try to push them out. Consider, though, the many rent control ordinances that we have in California. 

Help Your Tenants Find a New Place

If you have bad tenants, the last thing you likely want to do is extend a helping hand, but if this will help them vacate your property quickly, it might be worth it. Many times, bad tenants put off leaving because they can’t find another place to stay. By helping them get back on their feet, they could be out of your hair in no time. 

Offer a “Cash for Keys” Strategy

You may initially consider a monetary incentive as a reward for your tenants’ bad behavior, but a “cash for keys” deal can benefit both parties. Filing an unlawful detainer lawsuit takes a lot of time, money, and stress. What if you could offer your tenants a lower amount to leave the keys and go? In San Diego, most cash for keys offers range between $500 – $2,000 depending on the situation. 

If you are considering a cash for keys offer, make the terms very clear. Tenants should leave the property in good condition and be out by the specified date. If the terms of a cash for keys offer aren’t met, legal proceedings can cost over $2,000 after 90-180 days. 

Sell Your Property

Lastly, one of the quickest and most effective ways to evict tenants quickly is to sell your property for cash. This tactic will save you a ton of time and money because you can get an offer from a real estate investor in a matter of days. This method is beneficial for landlords who have distressed property due to bad tenants. 

Selling to Blueprint Homes

One of the benefits of selling your property to a real estate investor like Blueprint Homes is that we take possession of the house and the tenant. It’s no longer your responsibility to have to evict your bad tenants, and you can walk away from the deal stress-free with cash in your hand. Plus, you don’t have to list the property on traditional MLS sites, which could be impossible if your bad tenants trashed the place. Selling your home to an all-cash buyer is the fastest, easiest, and least stressful way to evict bad tenants. 
We help you trade dollars for convenience and never have to worry about your bad tenants again. Contact us today to receive your fast, free, and fair cash offer.

Ready to Take Action On Your Property?

Get a Free Consultation