Unlawful Detainers/Foreclosure Prevention
When a person fails to pay their rent, overstays a lease agreement, or suffers a foreclosure and fails to vacate the premises so that the new owner can take possession of the property, they have to be “Evicted” (Or “Ejected” – but the distinction between the two is not important for our discussion here). They cannot be locked out, they cannot be forced out (Referred to as “Self Help”) and the utilities cannot be turned off to persuade them to leave.
The eviction process is very complex and “Technical”. Make a mistake at any point and the court may force the owner/landlord to start all over again. There is always also the issue of “Bankruptcy” to contend with as a bankruptcy will generally stop an eviction and or cause a substantial delay.
The process is usually started by the serving of a “Notice”. In general, the notice will take on one of three forms – a three day notice to pay rent or quit, a thirty day notice to vacate, or a 60 day notice to vacate. If the wrong notice is served, the court will force the owner/landlord to start all over again.
Should the tenant fail to vacate after being served, then the owner/landlord has to file an “Unlawful Detainer” against the tenant. This is basically a lawsuit against the tenant with the goal of getting a court order that they leave.
The good news is that when done correctly, a tenant can be “Evicted” from the premises relatively quickly. When done wrong, or when dealing with a sophisticated tenant, the process could take years. Add this to the fact that “Post Tenancy” there are other rules that the owner/landlord must follow, particularly if the tenant leaves property behind or there is a deposit involved.
Tenants faced with eviction have many options available to them – some designed merely to prolong the process so they don’t have to vacate immediately if nothing else. Additionally one has to consider that the tenant may choose to damage the property prior to leaving. If they aren’t paying rent, trying to collect from them to repair damage done to the unit (If you can prove they did it in court) is - from a practical point of view - generally a waste of time.
If you have a situation where you need to remove someone from a property, or want to defend against a landlord trying to evict you, feel free to give us a call. We will be happy to sit down and discuss your options with you.