In SF, CA the tenant in a SF residence is not paying his rent and as landlord I cannot pay the mortgage, how can I get him out?

Asked by Mary, San Francisco, CA Wed Oct 7, 2009

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Jeff Woo, Other Pro, San Francisco, CA
Wed Oct 7, 2009
A non-rent paying tenant must be first served with a three day notice to pay rent or quit and a Fair Debt Collections Practices Act notice. If the tenant does not pay, you can file an unlawful detainer (UD) action in Superior Court. A UD is a type of expedited law suit, but it will still take from 2 -3 months to evict if the tenant fights it all the way through a trial. The vast majority of these types of cases settle well before trial, but often with the tenant leaving and you not recoverying your unpaid rent. That's because most tenants who are not paying rent do so because they have no money. It will make little sense spending money on an attorney to evict at trial when you will never recover the attorney's fees you expend.

It is possible to do an eviction yourself, even in San Francisco, but it is not easy. There are books, but you have to be very careful with all filings and notices, or you will lose the case. It is recommended that you hire an attorney to do the eviction, but you can take that advice with a grain of salt coming from me.

Jeffery P. Woo, Esq.
Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold LLP
Complex Rental Housing Group
3 votes
Mike Ackerman…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Thu Oct 8, 2009
Dear Mary,

Certainly non-payment of rent is one of the 14 reasons to evict, but every detail must be done in accordance with the spirit, intent and letter of the law. You may also want to do a quick REVIEW of your HAZARD INSURANCE POLICY or call you insurance agent to ensure your policy includes a policy rider covering wrongful eviction - just in case. This will further give you peace of mind as you proceed.

I own rental property and represented many buyers and sellers of mult-unit properties. It is my standard of care to advise clients to seek out the assistance of a good SF Landlord/Tenant Law Specialist attorney, I reiterate that advice to YOU. This is not an arena for the Do-It-Yourself Landlord. There are so many resources available giving FREE LEGAL ADVICE is to TENANTS in this town. Don't jeopardize your investment any further without consulting a specialist. Jeff Woo is one of a few excellent attorneys who specialize in this arena of the law. - (Jeff, if you're reading this - I look forward to seeing you later today with my clients!)

Good luck,

Michael Ackerman, CRS, e-Pro
Zephyr Real Estate
0 votes
Jed Lane, Agent, Petaluma, CA
Thu Oct 8, 2009
Jeff's advice is based on long experience. Start the proccess immediatly by delivering the 3 day notice and be sure to do it the legal way otherwise you just have to start over again. If you can't hire an attorney to handle all of the situation get a book and also get in touch with the San Francisco Rent Board. Many people think they only serve tenants, my experience is that they are a good resource and serve too have fairness and legal action followed. In other words they will help you get a bad tenant out just as much as they will help the tenant from a bad landlord.
Start the process without delay and follow through as if it were your job. This is another example of why property managers, like myself, earn thier pay.
0 votes
blaison samu…, Agent, Santa Clara, CA
Wed Oct 7, 2009

Sorry to hear that! You can give him notice to move out since he breached the contract by not paying your monthly rent. Contact an attorney so that attorney can give them legal notice to vacate the house.

Now, regarding your mortgage, did you try loan modification? May be you can qualify for loan modification so that your monthly payment can be reduced by your lender. Also, if nothing is working out then you can do short sale to avoid foreclosure. If you are thinking about short sale or have any questions on that, please don't hesitate to contact me at 510-366-9405, I would be glad to assist you.

Blaison Samuel
Certified Short Sale Specialist
0 votes
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