Eviction or Cash for keys

9 Replies

I have a tenant who have had problems paying and being late so I finally decided to give her 60 day notice to leave.  The area this rental condo is located is fairly nice in southern California and most times I have no problem with finding a tenant that pays on time, however this one was inherited when I purchased the property. Dumb me for not doing a credit check.

Anyway, she emailed back that it would be fine.  She paid the beginning of the month as I saw on the bank account statement and I thought things will go smoothly.  But then, now that it's almost the end of the month, I got notice from the bank that her check bounced.  Unfortunately, I only check the bank account in the beginning of the month so now she's almost had a full month of rent free living.  She won't answer phone calls or emails.  I'm planning on giving a 3 day pay and quit. Then after that I'm thinking of doing cash for keys since I hear that eviction is very costly in California.

If I go the eviction route, would I be able to count the initial 60 day notice as part of the eviction process?

Thanks for any input.  This is my first real issue with a tenant.


Do both.  Contact an eviction attorney first thing tomorrow morning.  If you don't know one, google is your friend.  Have your attorney serve the 3-day notice to pay rent or quit.  A notice coming from the law firm carries a lot more weight than it's coming from you.  The fee for this service is around $80-$100.

At the same time, contact your tenant by phone, text, or email.  Tell her that your attorney has started the eviction process already.  However, if she can move out of the unit by the end of this week, you will refund her deposit in full.  As much as you don't like it, it's the least costly option in the long run.  

Your tenant may use a stalling tactic by saying that she will move.  It doesn't matter what her answer is.  After the 3-day notice is up, have your attorney file an eviction immediately, just in case she doesn't move.  The cost for the eviction should be around $800 - $1,000, which includes court fee, sheriff fee and attorney fee.  At this point, you can't afford to be cheap. Pay the fees.  Consider it's a cost of doing business.  If she's out by the weekend, refund her deposit. 

Again, do both.  Best of luck.

Offer cash for keys or some other arraignment when you post the 3 day. IE get security deposit back, wont be on your record etc.

If tenant hasn't made an effort after that then you need to file. You dont want to loose time to a tenants stalling techniques.

Everytime i'm in court I hear something to this effect.

Judge: "When was the last time you received rent?"

Landlord: "4 months ago."

You do not wanna be the person who says 4 months ago. 

I think there are two separate issues:

1) Getting possession back, with little or no damage, in the shortest time, in order to get rent ready before the holidays, when people prefer to not be relocating. Fortunately, you don't have weather to be concerned about.

2) Lost rent/collection is secondary. You'll probably be able to get a money judgment for lost rent at contract or market rate. However, collecting is another thing. That's why C4K is attractive, despite the need to hold one's nose at the prospects of paying someone who broke a promise and cheated you out of rent. 

I've had rentals for many years and rarely talk publicly because I frankly don't enjoy this part of investing (I'm a happy note investor and would much rather foreclose than evict). 

My best tactic is to pay my U/D attorneys $100 to have the 3 Day Notice over their letterhead. It say to a tenant, "You have a problem" not "We have a problem". 

If you want their name, send me a PM and I'll share it.  Good luck.

If you have never prepared a 3 day notice before, I would use a process server prepare & serve the notice to your tenant. If the 3 day notice isn't properly filled out your entire eviction process could be dismissed due to improperly filling out that simple form. 

Increasing the rent to get rid of certain tenants could sometimes work out better as they might be the ones making the decision to leave...

Hi @Minh Le  , do you have someone your recommend for eviction service in the Bay Area? 

Hi @David C. , I am working with one, recommended by a real estate agent. Heard he has been doing this for 20 plus years. His office is in Richmond.

Denzil E Clements. Ph # 510-243-0149

Thanks everyone for your postings. 

Looks like I dodged the eviction bullet for now.  She finally paid for this month.  Next month I am hoping she moves out.  I am planning on offering to just keep her deposit for rent if she moves out the end of next month since I do not think she can pay.  Hopefully, it will all go as planned.

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