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In certain circumstances, a California resident may be forcibly removed from a premises that he or she is renting. This may occur if that person has failed to pay rent on time, is engaging in criminal activity or is otherwise breaking the lease. Having people or pets who are not authorized to occupy the premises may qualify as violating the terms of a lease.

The first step in the eviction process is issuing a formal notice of a default. The tenant will typically have a reasonable amount of time to address any issues in that notice. If that doesn’t happen, the landlord may request a court hearing to begin an unlawful detainer action. What this means is that the landlord claims that the tenant is now unlawfully living in the premises. The tenant must be served with papers prior to the hearing.

If there is no answer from the tenant, the landlord wins by default. The same is true if the tenant does not show up for the hearing. Assuming that the court rules for the landlord, the tenant is given several days to move out voluntarily. Otherwise, the local police may forcibly remove the tenant prior to returning possession of the property to the landlord.

In some cases, landlord-tenant disputes may be resolved without going to court. This may be ideal because it may strengthen the relationship between the parties and increase the odds that a tenant remains in the property. However, if a tenant is not willing to negotiate in good faith, legal action may be warranted. While an attorney may not be needed to win such a case, legal counsel may be able to help a landlord learn more about its rights and obligations, which may make the eviction process easier.