California  |  Landlord & Tenant Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 9/20/13, 7:34 am

In c.a. If a person buys a house and there is a tenant living on the property for over a yr. how do you go about evicting ?

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Answered on: 9/20/13, 8:32 am by Anthony Roach

You are subject to the lease in the same manner as the previous owner was. It would help to know whether this was a periodic tenancy (month to month) or a fixed term tenancy (tenancy for years.) Talk to an attorney in person to consult in more detail.


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Answered on: 9/20/13, 9:51 am by Timothy McCormick

Mr. Roach is correct that it depends on the terms of the lease or rental agreement. It also depends on whether you are in a "just cause" eviction jurisdiction, such as San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland or Los Angeles. If you are in a just-cause jurisdiction, you still may be allowed to evict to owner-occupy. In any case, the first step is to find out the local ordinances. If you are buying in a just-cause jurisdiction reconsider buying unless you want to be a landlord. If you still want to buy, and owner-move-in evictions are allowed, hire a lawyer to at least walk you through the process. Owner-move-in ordinances vary greatly and are usually utterly Byzantine, and if you trip up, the tenant will have you by the short hairs. If you are NOT in a just-cause jurisdiction, then you have to find out whether there is a lease for a specified term or a month-to-month rental. For a lease, you cannot move the tenant out until the lease with the seller is up, and you must do so in compliance with the terms of the lease. Again, spend a few $$ on a lawyer to review the lease and walk you through it. If you are in a month-to-month situation, all you have to do is give the tenant notice that the tenancy will terminate. If the tenant has been in the property for less than a year, you only need to give 30-days notice. If the tenant has been there more than a year you must give 60-days notice. Give the notices by certified mail and personal delivery just to be sure. Of course you can always negotiate a move out if the tenant is amenable - if you are not already in contract to buy the house you may want to make that a condition of the sale or even require that the landlord/seller deliver the property vacatant. Finally, you do have to bear in mind that if the tenant digs in their heels even if you have done everything right to terminate the tenancy, you will have to file an unlawful detainer action against them, the same as if a tenant has stopped paying rent.


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