If you own commercial property, you may eventually need to evict a tenant for nonpayment or for breaching the terms of the lease. In California, business tenants have fewer legal protections than individual residential tenants do. 

These are the processes you must follow to legally evict a commercial tenant under state law. 

Provide notice 

You must give your tenant three days’ written notice of the pending eviction and give the business time to resolve the complaint. During this time, the tenant must pay all past-due rent, and the landlord can request up to 20% of the rent as an additional deposit. The tenant must also correct other lease violations. If the tenant fails to do so, you can proceed with the eviction process. 

File a legal complaint 

Once three days pass with no action or payment on behalf of the tenant, you can file an Unlawful Detainer form. The court clerk will make several copies of this form. You must hire a process server to give your tenant the legal paperwork. After receiving the summons, he or she has five days to vacate the property. 

The tenant can also respond to your complaint. A motion to quash service claims that you failed to follow the proper procedure to file and serve the summons. If this motion succeeds, you will have to serve the tenant again to proceed with the eviction. Alternatively, the tenant can file a demurrer, which claims that the case is missing necessary facts and creates a delay. 

Request a writ of possession 

California landlords may not forcibly remove their tenants. If the tenant fails to vacate within five days of receiving the summons, you must ask the court for a Clerk’s Judgment of Possession. This allows you to have the county sheriff evict the tenant from the premises. 

You can also ask the court to enter a default judgment. This requires the tenant to pay back rent; failure to do so will result in negative credit reporting and potentially a property lien.