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Can I Evict for Habitual Late Payment in California?

Los Angeles, CA |

My tenant has habitually paid rent late (since the beginning of their lease for six months in a row). I would like to evict them because I'm tired of chasing after rent. Can I evict them with a 30 day notice despite the fact that they have six more months on their lease? Also, I have always accepted the late rent payment with late fees. Would that pose a problem?

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Attorney answers 2


You can evict the tenant by serving a 3-day notice to pay or quit, and then immediately filing a lawsuit for unlawful detainer.

If there is a lease agreement in effect, you cannot evict based on the 30 day notice to terminate.

Accepting late rent and charging late fees is not a problem for an eviction case.

If your rental is subject to the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance, you potentially have other restrictions on when and how you can evict a tenant.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult with your own attorney.



Thank you for your response. I have posted the 3 day notice many times. This month I have filed the unlawful detainer, however they will then pay the rent and I have to do it all over again the next month. I do not want to pay the court filing fees each month as well. The property is in San Joaquin county and not subject to LARSO. What other options do I have to evict them?


It is very possible that a judge would rule that, by habitually ACCEPTING rent late, you (the landlord) have changed the terms of your lease as to "when" the rent is due.

What you should consider doing is to give your tenant a 30 notice to fix that problem.....your notice should states that, beginning 30 days from "now", (the first of the month) his/her/its rent is due on the 1st of the month. You could also consider giving a 3-day notice to pay or quit based upon the terms specified in the lease agreement as to when rent is due and when it is considered late if such a provision exists in your agreement.

By accepting rent late for 6 months, you have basically changed the terms of the agreement by conduct. It is your safest option. Generally, while the contract "rules the term", changes can be inserted by a court in favor of the tenant under circumstances such as those described.

As an attorney for tenants (primarily) if I represented the tenant, I would argue that, by accepting rent late for 6 months, you (the landlord) in essence, changed the terms and conditions of the lease agreement BY YOUR CONDUCT......

This is NOT legal advice rather, it is opinion only based upon the facts as stated. There is no way to know the outcome of any judicial matter at this stage.



Thank you!

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