The eviction process: notices, claims, and length of time

Evicting a tenant is a tricky proposition, mainly because the rules and processes are in favor of a tenant that is being evicted without cause. Even when a tenant is being evicted with cause, the landlord or property manager taking the action needs to make sure they have all of their legal ducks in a row, so to speak, to make sure that their eviction holds water.

If a landlord attempts an eviction without cause, they have to give the tenant 30 days notice. However, in the city of San Francisco, you must have a legitimate reason to evict a tenant — in other words, you must evict with cause. 

If you evict with cause, the process won’t leave the tenant with as many protections as if the tenant was evicted without cause. The landlord needs to provide substantial evidence to support his or her claims, and you will have to utilize one of three notices:

  • Pay Rent or Quit: this means a tenant that hasn’t paid rent has 3-5 days to pay rent, otherwise they must move out.
  • Cure or Quit: this means a tenant must “cure” his or her misbehavior or move out. The length of time they have to cure their misbehavior is negotiable.
  • Unconditional Quit: this means there are no conditions, and the tenant simply must move out. This is reserved for criminal activity or chronic late rent payments.

Once the notice period is over, the landlord may file a lawsuit for the eviction of the tenant. The entire process can take weeks, if not months — even when done properly.

Source: FindLaw, “How Long Does the Eviction Process Take?,” Accessed Nov. 1, 2017

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