Can I Evict My Renter or Tenant?

Many people in California have recently heard the story about the “Nightmare Nanny,” the nanny that refused to vacate the home where she lived and worked. Her refusal to leave once she was fired by the family that employed her created a difficult and awkward situation. This article is a brief discussion about when you may be able to evict a renter or a tenant. There are a lot of variables in these types of cases so it may be in your best interest to consult David Knecht if you find yourself having landlord/tenant issues.

Q. For what reason can I evict a tenant?

In California, a Landlord may be able to evict a tenant if the tenant:

  • Fails to pay the rent on time.
  • Breaks the lease or rental agreement and will not fix the problem. (This type of violation may be as simple as keeping a pet where pets are not allowed.)
  • Damages the property bringing down the value. (This is referred to as “waste.”This would not include normal “wear and tear” on the property.)
  • Becomes a serious nuisance by disturbing other tenants and neighbors even after being asked to stop.
  • Uses the property to do something illegal. (This would include things such as meth labs or dog fighting rings.
  • Stays after the lease is up or expires.
  • Stays after the rental agreement is canceled with proper notice.

Q. How do I evict a tenant?

There is a process and a series of steps that must be followed to legally evict someone. The process will typically include giving notice to the tenant, an opportunity to correct any issues, and the filing of an unlawful detainer case in court. If you are not aware of these steps or familiar with the process, it may be best for you to contact an experienced attorney such as David Knecht

Q. Can I evict a tenant myself?

You should never take things into your own hands. Without a court order you should never:

  • Physically remove the tenant.
  • Get rid of the tenant’s personal property.
  • Lock the tenant out.
  • Cut off the utilities, like water or electricity.
  • Remove outside windows or doors.
  • Change the locks.

The eviction process varies from state to state and even city to city. If you are not clear about what may or may not be done, you may benefit from contacting an experienced attorney such as David Knecht at