1. The Rental Agreement or Lease
The landlord and tenant relationship is governed by the parties’ agreement. The rental agreement should be in writing so that the terms of the relationship are clear to each party. Sometimes a landlord allows a tenant to occupy their property based on a verbal agreement. While this is not the best form of agreement, it still is a contract and is enforceable.
In a written rental agreement or lease, it is important to have well-defined terms regarding amount of rent, when rent is due and if there are any charges to the tenant when rent is late.
2. When the Tenant fails to pay Rent
In my practice, many landlords seek legal assistance after the tenant has not paid rent for many months. I often hear stories from the landlord about the tenant’s excuses and that the landlord feels badly for the tenant. I understand that the landlord may have a relationship with the tenant and wants to be understanding to help the tenant out. When the tenant fails to pay rent on time and the landlord allows this conduct, it sends a strong message to the tenant that it is acceptable behavior.
3. Be firm: Rent should be Paid on Time
I strongly urge all landlords to require the tenant to pay rent on time. If the tenant does not pay rent on time, the landlord has the ability to serve the tenant with a 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. This notice warns the tenant that rent must be paid within 3 days after the notice is served on them or the landlord is going to file an action with the court to have the tenant evicted. This type of lawsuit is also called an Unlawful Detainer.
It is extremely important for the landlord to have this type of notice served as soon as the tenant is in default of payment of rent because it starts the clock ticking. If the tenant does not comply with the notice, then the landlord should move quickly to have an attorney file an eviction action.
4. How to get your Property Back
An Unlawful Detainer or eviction action is a shortened court action that allows the landlord to move more quickly through the legal process than in a traditional civil action the goal of the action is to regain possession of the premises so the landlord can rent it to new tenants. The longer the tenant stays in possession of your property without paying rent, the longer it will be until you are able to get possession of the property and get new tenants in who will (hopefully) pay rent on time.
5. Get Legal Assistance
We are experienced in helping landlords when their tenants do not pay rent and remain in possession of the premises. Please contact us at (925) 463-9000 or send an email if you would like more information about landlord rights, eviction actions in any other landlord and tenant issues.
Lisa Wills of the Law Offices of Lisa D. Wills is a skilled Landlord Tenant attorney in Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore and Danville California helping Commercial and Residential Landlords protect themselves and their properties. Please contact Lisa Wills by email at the Law Offices of Lisa D. Wills or call us at (925) 463-9000.