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The Eviction Process

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Ask Phyllis: a blog series of frequently asked real estate questions.

The Eviction Process

Dear Phyllis,

I look forward to your real estate advice. I have a new problem. My father sold his home two years ago. The buyer could not get a loan, so my father gave the buyer a loan. The buyer stopped making payments several months ago, and we hired an attorney to initiate foreclosure. I am concerned that the buyer won’t move after the foreclosure is complete. Can you explain the eviction process?


Dear JK,

I am so sorry that your father is in this position. I wish both of you the best. Although I have never advised a seller to carry a loan for a buyer as there is too much risk. As a top Coldwell Banker real estate agent, I have been down this road several times. It’s advisable to hire an attorney due to the complexity of this process.

Initiating with THE NOTICE: The eviction process commences with “The Notice”, which is served on the tenant.

Advancing to THE LAWSUIT: Following the expiration of “The Notice”, your attorney will commence the “Unlawful Detainer” by preparing and filing a lawsuit. The suit is then transferred to the process server. Most tenants are served within a week from the filing date.

Moving through THE DEFAULT PROCESS: If the tenant fails to respond to the lawsuit, additional paperwork must be filed for the court’s review. Subsequently, the court is expected to issue a “Judgment for Possession”, a process that often takes ten or more days.

Engaging THE SHERIFF: Once a judgment is secured, a “Writ of Possession” is delivered to the Sheriff’s office. The Sheriff processes it and proceeds to the property, posting a “5-Day Notice To Vacate” on the tenant’s door. Following the 5-day period, the Sheriff arranges a lockout date and time, requiring you or your representative to meet them to rekey the property.

Handling PERSONAL PROPERTY LEFT BEHIND: In California, landlords must adhere to a specific legal process when tenants leave their belongings. Disposal is not immediate; instead, landlords must notify the former tenant, store the property for a specific period, and follow precise steps for selling or disposing of unclaimed items.

Concluding with THE MONEY JUDGMENT: At this stage, it’s wise for your attorney to file a money judgment for the amount owed.  This allows your father to go after any assets the tenant may have, such as bank accounts or wages, to collect what is owed.

One thought on “The Eviction Process

  1. Sam says:

    I don’t think I would ever want to be a landlord. Too stressful.

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