Evictions are no fun and usually, a tenant’s failure to pay rent is the most common reason for them. Tenancy is an investment and if your renter is not paying the monthly rent, you’re the one whose cash flow gets hurt.

Fortunately, here at Stokley Properties, Contra Costa property management company, we have not had to deal with many evictions in our 20 years of service. However, when they do come up we follow certain guidelines to ensure the process is done correctly.

Our policy with rent payment is the rent is due between the 1st and 5th of every month, but late on the 6th. Now, people have problems and situations come up. Thus, communication is vital.
We always tell people, “If something happens, pick up the phone and call us.” Property managers are not mind readers, so let yours know if you’re going to be late with rent”. As long as it does not become a habit, communication is key.

When tenants don’t communicate, however, and you’ve tried reaching out them, then this is generally when you’d start the eviction process. Typically, situations like this rarely occur and almost 99 percent of renters are great. However, when you do encounter a tenant who refuses to pay rent, you want to begin the process by sending a three-day notice to pay or quit.

Proper ways, according to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, a landlord can serve a tenant a three-day notice to pay or quit:

  • Personal Service – The landlord serving the tenant must hand the notice directly to the tenant, however, they can refuse. The three-day period can only begin after the tenant receives the notice.
  • Substituted Service or another person – If the landlord can’t find the rental property, the landlord should try and serve the tenant personally at work. If the landlord can’t find the tenant’s home or work, the landlord can use “substituted service” instead of serving the tenant personally. Person serving must be 18-years-old or older.
  • Posting and mailing – If the landlord can’t serve the notice on the tenant personally or by substituted service, the notice can be served by taping or tacking a copy to the rental unit in a conspicuous place (such as the front door of the rental unit) and by mailing another copy to the tenant at the rental unit’s address.

Once you have served your tenant, you must be sure the notice includes a demand on the precise amount due with instructions on where to pay it, an unequivocal demand for possession if the rent is not paid within three days of service of the notice, the date of the notice, and the signature of the landlord or property manager for the landlord.

Since property managers are not attorneys, it’s highly recommended that you hire an eviction attorney. Find an attorney who knows the laws inside and out to help with these matters for you.

It’s important you do things right the first time because if one thing is messed up, the judge will throw it out and the whole process will start over. This will not only take up your time, but cost you more money as well. After all, the longer the non-paying renter is living in your unit, the longer it’s going to take you to get a new tenant and start collecting rent.

In these situations when it comes time to evict someone, hire a professional. Having an eviction attorney on your side will get you on the road to renting your property out to a good, reliable tenant.