How do I Evict a Tenant in Sacramento California: What Every Landlord Needs to Know

The Cost of Eviction in Sacramento
In Sacramento Evicting a Tenant is Costly and must be done right

Evicting a Tenant in Sacramento California is a time consuming and costly process.

No matter how well we screen our applicants for the perfect tenant, sometimes we just don’t get it right and it becomes necessary to evict the tenant. It is important for a landlords with rental properties to know that the eviction process is a legal one and most of the the rights are in the tenants favor right up and until the time of the court hearing.

Until that time it is your burden to make sure that you do everything in your power to secure your property without infringing on your tenants rights.

Fortunately we still have some tools in Sacramento California that can remove a bad tenant even if it seems to take forever and cost a fortune. While an eviction is the most onerous of the choices for both the landlord and the tenant, it is effective and just takes time and money. Alternatives to eviction are at a landlords disposal and can have a more favorable to a positive outcome. We will discuss one such option later in the article.

How do I Evict a Tenant in Sacramento California?

Eviction starts with the process known as Unlawful Detainer. For an eviction, the landlord must file an unlawful detainer lawsuit in Sacramento superior court. In an eviction lawsuit, the landlord is called the “plaintiff” and the tenant is called the “defendant.”

According to American Legal Services, the average eviction takes 4 to 6 weeks in Sacramento California, but only if it is properly litigated. To begin an eviction, the following types of notices are required under California law:

  • Three-day notice to pay rent or quit
  • Three-day notice to perform covenants or quit
  • Three-day notice to quit for nuisance, unauthorized subletting or criminal conduct
  • Post-foreclosure notices for purchasers and investors
  • 30- and 60-day notices to vacate
  • Notices to enter dwelling unit

In order to effectively litigate an eviction all of your paperwork must be in “perfect order”. Trying to handle all of the notices and filings yourself is a mistake as even one clerical error and you can lose the case and the clock starts all over again.

As I said earlier, today’s tenants have more rights than their owner landlords in Sacramento, California and the attorneys that represent these tenants know this and know exactly how to win.

According to California Tenant Law: every I must be dotted and T crossed and until you get into the courtroom the tenant has all of the rights. From a landlord perspective the deck is stacked against you. “Contrary to popular belief, winning a case over nonpayment of rent is actually the easiest for the tenant to win: a defective notice, prior illegal late fees or repairs that you made, uninhabitable conditions that exist now, unsatisfied citations by the building or health department, illegal structures, unlicensed managers, unregistered fictitious business names, miscalculations, waivers, special agreements with the prior landlord, unsigned leases, confusing lease languages, illegal lease terms, rent control requirements,…the list goes on and on. One little mistake in the landlord’s case and the tenant wins, even if the real reason the tenant didn’t pay is because they didn’t have the money”.

What does it Cost to Evict a tenant in Sacramento
The Cost of Eviction in Sacramento keeps rising.

So why would anyone want to become a landlord in Sacramento, California? Especially if the system favors the tenant, the attorneys that represent the tenants know the loop holes and specialize and your cost of eviction is so high?

I have talked to many landlords that have decided to get out of the business altogether as a result of those cost. Adding to those cost are new federal regulations recently released by HUD that make it illegal to discriminate against a renting to tenant because of criminal background or other reasons they deem discriminatory.

It is easy to calculate the real cost of an eviction based on a average timeline of how long it may take and then when you add in  lost rent, damages, repairs, vacancy, cost of eviction, cost of unit turn over, time, leasing costs, the risk of leaving a property vacant, are taken into consideration the costs can add up fast.

Let’s look at a typical house and assume that the rent is $1,000.00 per month. Let’s assume that your tenant is already two months’ behind in rent and for our purposes, were going to add an additional month as a “Lost Months’ Rent” as it will take some time fix and re-rent the property.

Taking into account the cost of cleaning the unit and prepping it for the next tenant, paying the leasing agent, paying for marketing and concessions, it’s apparent an eviction is very expensive.

Estimated Total Cost of Eviction In California
Retain Eviction Specialist/Attorney $700.00
Lost Rent (Based on round number assumptions) $3,000.00
Leasing Commission (1/2 Month’s Rent) $500.00
Carpet Cleaning Cost $120.00
Painting Cost $200.00
Apartment/House Cleaning $150.00
Marketing Costs (Rental websites, print ads, signs etc.) $200.00
Total   $4,870.00

It’s important to understand that this is likely a best-case scenario. It may take substantially longer for the tenant to vacate and for a landlord to find another tenant. This estimate also does not take into consideration any damage that the house has suffered by the tenant or while the house is vacant.

The cost of an eviction in Sacramento California can easily wipe out any profit for the landlord. No matter how much due diligence you do and even if you have a property manager, it’s important to know that the cost of an eviction can easily get out of control!

Cash For Keys in Sacramento is a great alternative!

Avoid Eviction in Sacramento
Cash for Keys is a Proactive Way to Remove Tenants and avoid a costly Eviction in Sacramento

There are things that you can do to avoid an eviction and remove the tenant with a more proactive approach. One such approach is known as cash for keys. I have effectively paid tenants to move thereby mitigating my losses and allowed both of us to move on with our lives. They get what they want… moving expenses and I get what I wanted… them out. Most of the time I have accomplished that by just splitting the difference of the cost of eviction and offering the tenant half until I find the magic number. Keep in mind, that you cannot make any payments whatsoever to the tenant directly. In this scenario It’s OK to pay the new landlord directly without giving any money to the tenant. You get to create the rules and written agreement so that the results are what you want… the keys in your hand.

We Buy Houses Sacramento

There is a third alternative as well and if you are a landlord that has just had enough, then we can buy your house in Sacramento, pay cash and let you get on with your life.

My name is Peter Westbrook and I am a local real estate investor in Sacramento, California. We buy Houses in Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto Ca. If you are tired of being a landlord and just want to sell your Sacramento houses, and invest your money elsewhere, I can help. We are cash home buyers in Sacramento and we pay cash for houses.

We can even structure the sale so that you can avoid Capital Gains by structuring the sale in such a way that the payoff is deferred through escrow. There are many things that we can do to allow you to walk away with your investment secured but without the headaches of another bad tenant.

Call me today at (209)481-7780 or visit my We Buy Houses Sacramento Website and fill out the short form. Either way you will talk to me personally.

At “Westbrook REI” and “We Buy Houses Sacramento”, we are the best at what we do because we work at it every day. We understand that a commitment to customer and a commitment to our business only happens with hard work. We have years of experience and a plan that we follow. We are a real company with real people that are committed to helping you achieve your goals.




Peter Westbrook

Peter Westbrook is a local Cash Home Buyer / Real Estate Investor in Stockton, Sacramento and Modesto CA and Tulsa Oklahoma. He has written numerous real estate articles that have been published here and by other blog and news outlets. Peter has appeared on several local and national news reports regarding the state of the Stockton and Sacramento Real Estate Markets.

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