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How to Evict a Tenant


Actual Eviction

Actual eviction occurs when the lessor or someone with paramount title ousts the tenant from possession. Partial eviction is also possible when the tenant is forcibly evicted from a substantial portion of the leased premises, but continues to occupy the remainder under the lease.

Constructive Eviction

In order for a constructive eviction to occur the tenant must vacate. The reason for vacating can be any of the following:

- The lessor or someone acting at their direction, renders the premises unfit for its original purposes

- The lessor's actions deprive the tenant of the beneficial enjoyment of the premises

- The tenant vacates the premises in response to an improper notice to quit threatening an unlawful detainer action, even if the lessor does not physically substantially interfere with the tenant’s possession and quiet enjoyment.

The effect of constructive eviction is that the tenant is relieved of any further liability for the payment of rent after abandonment of the premises.


Just Cause Eviction Under Civ Code § 1946.2

In California, eviction of a tenant is regulated by various laws and procedures. One of those laws is the "Just Cause" law codified in Civ Code § 1946.2. The law applies depending on certain factors such as how long a tenant has resided on the property, what type of property it is, whether the tenants are adults, and how many units there are.

Just cause to evict

Civ Code § 1946.2 cites the following tenant actions that are just cause to evict:

  • Breach of a lease covenant

  • Non-payment

  • Nuisance

  • Criminal activity on the premises

  • Committing waste

  • Using premises for unlawful purpose

  • Refusing to allow owner to access premises

  • Failure to vacate after termination of employment, license, or agency relationship.

In scenarios where there is just cause to evict and the tenant's breach is curable then the notice must give the tenant three (3) days, excluding weekends and holidays, to cure the breach or get out. If the tenant cures then there is no longer grounds for eviction. If the landlord waives the breach after service of the notice, the tenancy is not terminated even if the breach is not cured.

If the breach is non-curable then the notice must state the grounds for the breach giving the tenant three (3) days, excluding weekends and holidays, to get out.

No just cause to evict

Under Civ Code § 1946.2 the owner can evict if one of the following are true: