How Long does the Eviction Process Take

Property ownership is never a walk in the park. Dealing with tenants especially can be daunting. Each one is different, and you need to understand everyone’s behavior if you want to run a smooth business. As much as you like and appreciate them, though, problems could get to a point where you need to say enough is enough. 

Take an example of a scenario where he won’t the pay rent on time. You give them a second or even a third chance, but still, they do not pay or don’t pay on time. Or take a situation where one of the tenants is being a nuisance to the rest of the neighbors, and they all claim that they cannot live there if that one tenant is not evicted. What’s worse? A tenant who engages in property destruction or a rent shirker? For the landlord, either is a serious problem.

In either case, you may consider giving the tenant an eviction notice with a warning to rectify the situation or move out. And if they fail pay up or move out willingly, then you can have a judge enforce an eviction order. 

But how long does the eviction process take?

The process differs. It could be a simple process whereby the landlord gives the tenant notice explaining why he needs to move out. In a lease situation, the deadline to pay or leave is three days. In some cases, the case may escalate to a dispute in court if the tenant refuses to leave.  It is, therefore, safe to say that the time that the process takes depends on the situation. 

Also, if the notice to evict is written or served improperly, a tenant can petition the court to refuse an eviction.

Eviction without cause

If as the landlord you decide to evict a tenant without cause, you may do this only if you have a month-to-month rental agreement or a clause allowing it in the lease that is agreed to by both parties ahead of time. If it’s a yearly or longer lease, you can’t evict unless the tenant doesn’t pay or does something else wrong. With a long-term lease, you can ask a good, paying tenant if he would be willing to move out if you want to make renovations or live in the property yourself. But the tenant need not comply.

In month-to-month rentals, you are required to give tenants 30 days’ notice. This, however, depends on your state because some states do not allow landlords to carry out evictions unless there is a serious and legitimate reason for it as this could be termed a breach of contract.

Eviction with a cause

If there is cause, the tenants have fewer protections, and they have to follow the law. There are numerous causes of this type of eviction, including:

  • Failure to pay rent on time – The tenant must pay rent within the agreed timeframe or quit. 
  • Misbehavior – If a tenant violates the rules of the lease, they are given a notice to either improve their behavior or quit. They are given a certain amount of time. For example, it could be a rent issue where they agree with the landlord that they will have some time to clear the balance. If they don’t pay up in the agreed-to time, they have to move out. The time allowed under California law is three days. 
  • Severe misconduct – The eviction is unconditional, and the tenant is not given a choice to change or quit. They have to move out regardless.  Examples of such causes are criminal records or chronic rent failures.

What is expected of the landlord?

The landlord is supposed to give notice to the tenant based on the cause or situation, and if the notice period expires without the tenant moving out voluntarily, the landlord can then initiate an unlawful detainer lawsuit. The case will then begin in a matter of a few weeks after filing the suit, and if the tenant fails to attend the hearings or defend himself, the judge automatically rules in the landlord’s favor. The judge can even order for immediate eviction, but in most cases, the tenant will be given a period of one to four weeks to move out.

If the period expires and the tenant has not moved out yet, the landlord seeks the assistance of the sheriff, whose deputies then carry out a removal. This process can take weeks, and it could be delayed if the tenant files an objection lawsuit. The order can also be suspended if it is during the winter as they wait for the season to end. The eviction process can take from five weeks up to three months after the expiration of the notice if there are no delays.

Based on these arguments, the time taken for the eviction process differs from one case to the next, based on the cause, how the tenant responds to the process and the season. One thing is clear though: The landlord must follow all the steps exactly according to law before evicting the tenant.


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