One thing that brings strife between landlords and tenants anywhere in the world is the touchy subject of eviction. There are a ton of reasons that landlords can use to enforce tenant’s eviction.
However, whatever the reason for eviction, landlords must adhere to state laws or be backed by rental and lease agreements. When processing evictions in San Francisco, it is not uncommon for landlords to make some mistakes.
While more experienced landlords are less prone to mistakes than newer ones, it isn’t rare for them to falter. Getting a property management company and them hard-hitting questions will do a world of good.
By the end of this article, you will be aware of the eviction process and five of the most common mistakes to avoid.
What is an Eviction and What Are the Steps?
Eviction refers to the process a landlord follows to remove a tenant from a rental property due to a lease agreement breach. Although the landlord may decide to evict a tenant legally, he may be delegated to an authorized representative.
Eviction laws differ from state to state and from county to county. However, a property manager or landlord can enforce evictions in San Francisco on the following grounds:
- In case of misuse or damage of the property
- When the tenants fail to pay rent
- Immoderate, unnecessary, and regular disturbance by the tenant
For these reasons, a landlord may enforce evictions, and tenants are bound by law to comply. However, the eviction must go through a process before a tenant is legally required to leave the property.
To proceed with the eviction process, there are several steps that must be taken.
1. Agreement to Pay Rent
The landlord must first, agree to lease his property to the said tenant. There must be an agreement to pay rent for the tenant to live in the property.
Lack of a formal lease agreement and documentation or the use of verbal agreements is a common mistake San Francisco landlords make when renting their property.
2. Landlord’s Decision to Evict
The landlord will decide to evict the tenant if they fail to abide by the lease agreement. Often, it is the failure to pay rent or misuse of the property. Once the landlord is aware of a breach of the lease, they can ensue the eviction process.
It’s important to note that not all situations must lead to an eviction. There are times where the landlord and tenant can remedy an issue without resulting in the law. In fact, most landlords prefer to patch things up with their tenants than pursue the eviction process.
3. A Notice from Landlord to Tenant
After deciding to evict the tenant, the landlord must issue a termination of the lease due to a breach of the lease. The notice must include the following information:
- Name of the tenant and landlord
- Address of property
- Reason for evicting
- Proof of service
- Landlord’s information
This is usually a three-day notice for “fault” evictions delivered to the tenant from the landlord, a property management, or an authorized representative such as the county sheriff.
4. An Action from the Tenant
After receiving the notice of eviction from the landlord, the tenant has some decisions to make.
They can choose to vacate the property, pay the outstanding rent on or before the deadline, or ignore the notice.
Ignoring the notice will prompt the landlord to file for eviction at a court.
5. Tenant is Served a Summons
The tenant will get served a summons for possession by the court. This requires them to pay back the owed rent in five business days to the court registry.
Then they must file an answer to the summons. Failure to do so will prompt default judgment being passed. The judge will decide whether to pass in favor of the landlord or not.
A judgment in favor of the landlord means approval of the property owner’s claim. The landlord then pays a fee to the sheriff to evict the tenant.
The Most Common Eviction Mistakes
Despite all the stipulated rules and processes in place, landlords still make some errors while they carry out evictions in San Francisco. To help you avoid making these mistakes, we’ve listed five of the most common ones below.
1. Failing to Hire an Attorney
Failure to hire an attorney is a major common mistake that landlords make during the eviction process. Most landlords choose to represent themselves simply to save money.
Not having an attorney in the eviction process can attract penalties against you if you mishandle the proceedings.
Contrary to beliefs, there are affordable alternatives, such as working with a property management company, that will handle the process for you. This is especially helpful for landlords handling their first eviction.
2. Taking Eviction Matters Upon Themselves Without Filing an Action
Taking matters into your own hands concerning an eviction is a big no-no. This mistake is usually common amongst new and inexperienced landlords and can lead to serious consequences.
To legally evict an erring tenant requires you to file an action for their eviction in court, as we discussed earlier. After such actions, the landlord receives a court order that is enforced by law enforcement.
San Francisco landlords take eviction matters into their own hands by changing locks or putting the tenant’s belongings outside risk suffering losses in court.
Besides, harassing tenants could stir up violent reactions from them, which could end badly.
3. Trying to Prove a Case Without Evidence
Even with verbal proof that the tenant deserves to be evicted, if landlords do not have proper physical evidence, they could lose their case.
Evidence of a tenant’s failure to pay rent, copies of the signed lease agreement, proof of notice, and damages, if any, may be requested by a judge.
Landlords who fail to document such evidence or present them may have to restart the eviction process. This could result in the tenant staying at the property and not paying rent.
4. Incorrect Termination of Rental Agreements
All rental and lease agreements stipulate the responsibilities and rights of both parties. State and local housing laws also protect and guide the actions of parties involved as well.
But sometimes, despite all these laws, some landlords make incorrectly terminate a lease agreement. This mistake is quite common and even more evident when the property owner involved ignores some of the steps in processing eviction.
5. Waiting to Start the Eviction Process
Another common mistake that landlords make is waiting to begin the eviction procedure as soon as they mean to. Most times, this is because landlords fail to make rules governing the tenant’s use of their property.
By the time they figure that they need to curtail tenant’s access to the property, the damage could be enormous.
From late rent payment to damaging your property to regular or immoderate disturbance, landlords should state the dos and don’ts early on. This will prevent impulsive and harsh actions that may be ineffective or even backfire.
Make the Eviction Process Easier with a Property Management Company
One reason landlords make these common eviction mistakes is due to the self-management of their properties. Working with a property management company with landlord-tenant knowledge is the best option when you own a rental property in San Francisco.
Sharevest Property Management is San Francisco’s leading property management company. We reduce the chance of evictions because of our thorough tenant screening process and we even offer a 6-Month Tenant Guarantee.
In the case of an eviction, we will represent you in court and handle everything saving you time, money and effort.
Contact us today and speak to one of our professional team members about how we can help you manage your tenants and rental property in San Francisco!