A Guide to the Eviction Process in Long Beach, California

Just like tenants, California law, (CA Civil Code 1940-1954.05) gives landlords a bevy of rights. Key among them being the right to evict a tenant for lease violations. The following guidelines describes this process under non-Covid circumstances.

Since the Covid epidemic, the state of California, and many local jurisdictions have enacted tenant protections that supersede normal eviction proceedings. These Covid-related tenant protections are everchanging and we highly recommend you seek legal council to help you navigate this process until all Covid tenant protections are lifted.

When evicting a tenant for lease violations, you must follow the proper steps in the process for it to be successful. We recommend that Landlords and Property Managers always consult an Eviction Attorney for guidance and proper representation throughout the eviction process.

Some of the things an eviction attorney will take into consideration include:

  1. The city in which the property is located.
  2. What type of property the tenants live in. (E.g., SFR, Condo or Apartment)
  3. What is the specific lease violation?
  4. Is the property subject to rent control?
  5. What is the ‘just cause’ reason for the notice to vacate?
  6. Is there a current local ordinance in place that supersedes the county or state legislation?

If your attorney determines an eviction can move forward, here is what you can expect to take place under general proceedings. Please note, howeverit is by no means a substitute for an attorney nor is it an attempt to give legal advice:

Step #1: Post/Deliver Proper Notice

The first step in any tenant eviction process begins with an eviction notice. An eviction notice must meet three criteria for it to be effective.

A) It must be relevant to the violation committed

Different eviction notices serve different purposes. A “Notice to Pay or Quit”, for example, should only be served to tenants who fail to pay rent. If you serve it for a different violation, the eviction will most likely be dismissed in court and you will have to begin again by serving the proper notice.


B) It must inform the tenant of the specific violation(s) committed

As well, it must provide them the notice period. For example, the 3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit gives the tenant 3 days to either pay the overdue rent or move out.

C) It must contain correctly listed information such as:

  • Tenant(s) name(s)
  • The property address for which rent is paid
  • Date when you made the rent demand to the tenant(s)
  • Landlord name, address and contact information where rent is payable
  • The amount of overdue rent
  • A certificate of service indicating how the notice was served to the tenant
  • Your signature

evictions court

Step #2: File and Serve the Complaint

Once the notice period ends and if the tenant has not moved out, the next step is to file and serve a complaint with the Superior Court of the applicable county in California. The complaint and summons is also referred to as an Unlawful Detainer.

Filing an Unlawful Detainer is something we highly recommend you do through your attorney. This step will include the cost of filing plus attorney’s fees.

 Now, there is a certain way in which the summons and complaint must be served. We recommend going through a professional service provider. The service must be done in any of the following ways:

  • Through personal delivery
  • Leaving a copy at the tenant’s workplace or mailing it to them via first-class mail 
  • Posting it in a conspicuous place on the property

lease or rental agreement

The summons and complaint gives the tenant an opportunity to respond to the eviction. If they choose to answer, they will have 5 business days to do so.

Step #3: Court Hearing & Judgment

The eviction hearing will be set by the court. You should attend the hearing prepared with the following:

  • A copy of the lease agreement
  • A copy of the eviction notice
  • The complaint 
  • Any supporting evidence/documentation

Step #4: Writ of Execution

This is the tenant’s final notice to move out of the rental premises and states a date determined by the court. If the tenant has not vacated by the court-appointed date, Sheriff’s deputies will appear at the property and forcefully remove them, thereby carrying out the eviction. 

This is commonly referred to as “the lock out date” because the Landlord can have the locks changed at this time.

Bottom Line

If you own rental property in California, it’s challenging but very important to be up to date on local landlord-tenant laws. Tenants who do not live up to their end of the lease agreement are subject to eviction. 

Understanding the eviction process with proper representation from an eviction attorney is key. More importantly, however, is proper tenant screening to greatly reduce your chances of having a bad experience in the first place. 

As a landlord it’s also important that you understand the state's landlord-tenant laws, security deposit laws and regulations relating to breaking a lease. The Mike Dunfee Group can help you with all of this. 

So consider contacting us for your property management needs. You don’t need to do this on your own. We can help you realize your investment property’s full potential.

Disclaimer: This blog isn’t a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. If you have any questions regarding this content or any aspect of property management, Mike Dunfee Group can help.

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