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The process of evicting a commercial tenant in California

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2023 | Real Estate Law |

Times are tough financially for commercial tenants and landlords alike, and sometimes a landlord must evict the tenant. Landlords should closely follow all necessary procedures for evicting a commercial tenant, and they should not resort to self-help measures.

Commercial evictions in California

A landlord who wants to evict a commercial tenant for nonpayment of rent must provide the tenant with three days’ written notice. This notice must let the tenant know how much they owe and that they have three days to pay in full or they will be evicted.

This notice must be given to the tenant at their place of business. Alternatively, notice can be posted on the front door of the business. Notice should be mailed to the tenant as well. In addition, the landlord should complete a “proof of service” form.

Landlords must accept any payments offered by the commercial tenant. However, accepting partial payment does not mean the landlord waives their right to evict. If the tenant pays in full within three days, the landlord must accept these payments and cannot evict.

After three days have passed since notice was served, the eviction process can commence. The landlord’s attorney can file for unlawful detainer. The tenant will be served with notice of the unlawful detainer.

The tenant has five days to contest the eviction in court. If they do so, they can state why they should not be evicted and ask for a trial.

If the tenant does not contest the conviction, the landlord can move the court for possession. If granted, the sheriff will post a five-day notice to vacate on the front door of the premises. If the tenant does not leave within five days, the sheriff can physically lock them out of the premises.

Do not resort to self-help measures

Some landlords may find all these steps to be frustrating and confusing. What they should not resort to, however, is self-help measures.

Landlords should not change the locks on the doors themselves. They should not throw all the tenant’s stuff out onto the sidewalk. They should not threaten the tenant as a means of demanding payment.

Instead, landlords should ensure they are meeting all the legal requirements of a valid eviction. While it can take time, it is better to evict a commercial tenant legally rather than risk having the eviction thrown out.



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