In California, if a tenant moves out without 30-day notice and puts a friend in the unit, WHOM do you evict?

Renter signed a contract agreement. Then moved out without giving a 30 Day notice to landlord. The original tenant “moved” his friend into the unit. No additional deposit was ever paid (so original deposit was not returned to the original tenant). The landlord was not in agreement for a “long-term” new renter, but agreed to let the new person stay for a short term time period.

From the onset, the rent was one month late, then after 5 months, the (substitute/friend) renter stopped paying any rent and refuses to leave.

It has now been over 3 months without any payment from either the original renter or the substitute. Whom should be served the eviction papers? Should BOTH the original renter and the substitute both be listed on the Eviction forms?

Thanks in advance for your time and assistance.

Posted in California Landlord-Tenant Law.


  1. The next time something like that the police immediately…once you are past so many days, you now have a squatter.

    Now you have to evict that person just like a tenant, however, you cannot charge them rent because they never had a contract with you.

    However, you CAN hold the original party liable.

  2. No need to evict the origional guy because he’s gone. You can go after him for the remainder of the lease (if it exists) and a reletting fee (if it’s in the lease).

    You’ll have to evict the new guy. In most states, after 30 days he is the tenant — lease or not. You need to serve him a “pay or quit” letter just like any other tenant then follow the eviction law for your state

  3. Expert Realtor’s advise will cost you dearly. Its called “unlawful eviction” and could cost the owner of the property a whole lot of money in a civil suit. Answers like this is why it is illegal for real estate agents to give legal or tax advise…..

    Because the original tenant (who has legal possession) allowed this friend to move into the property with his permission has to be removed through an unlawful detainer action. He is not a squatter and if the police came and arrested him for being a squatter will result in a “false arrest” as well as an “unlawful eviction” lawsuit against the owner.

    Hire a knowledgeable RE attorney to do the eviction. There are several unique legal twist and turns to remove a resident of a property when they are not on the lease/rental agreement. An attorney will charge you about $600-$700 including filing fees in an uncontested eviction.

    Get a copy of the Los Angeles Apartment Owner Association magazine. It has a dozen of knowledgeable lawyers advertising in it.

    You have to evict the original tenant and his friend and any other adult living in the property…..If you don’t name the original tenant on the complaint he could move back into the property at any time and you would have to start another eviction on him. If you give the new tenant a “pay rent or quit” notice and he pays the rent…..congratulation you just let him establish legal residency.

  4. Since you received rent from the new tenant the previous tenant is no long in the equation.

    You have a month to month tenant (CA does not require a lease) who you have to evict. The lack of a contract has no bearing on the situation.

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