Perhaps the only thing more frustrating for a landlord than the legal process of evicting a tenant is eviction clean out once the renter is removed from the rental property. The unfortunate reality is that a tenant who fails to pay rent or violates other lease terms is highly likely to leave the rental property in significant disarray. Facing the prospect of an eviction clean out can seem absolutely overwhelming for a landlord. As will be discussed in greater detail in a moment, a landlord typically is best served to engage the professional eviction clean up services.

The Legalities of Eviction Clean Out

First and foremost, a landlord must take care to make sure all legalities associated with eviction clean out are fully satisfied before the process commences. What this means is that a landlord cannot commence an eviction clean out process until he or she has the legal authority to do so.

California has very specific requirements a landlord must satisfy in order for a landlord to lawfully evict a tenant, remove property of a tenant from the rental premises, and assume full possession of the leased property. A lawful eviction process begins with the landlord serving a notice upon a tenant regarding the renter’s failure to satisfy the terms of the lease. More often than not, the violation of the rental agreement is a failure to pay rent.

According to California law, a tenant has a set number of days to comply with the notice or he or she must vacate the property. For example, if a tenant has failed to pay rent, the renter must get rent current within the time frame set forth in the initial notice. Although a tenant is directed to either pay the rent (or otherwise comply with the directive in the notice) or vacate the property, if a tenant fails to take either course, a landlord cannot enter the property, lock the tenant out, and initiate the eviction clean out process. If the landlord would take such action, it would be unlawful. Moreover, a tenant would be placed in the position of being able to seek compensation from the landlord for unlawfully “evicting” a tenant from the property.

If a tenant fails to comply with the notice, a landlord must file a complaint in court seeking to have the tenant formally evicted. The court schedules an eviction trial. If the landlord prevails at an eviction trial, he or she is closer to getting to the point where he or she has the right to a takeover of the rental property and begin the eviction clean out process.

When a court awards a judgment in favor of a landlord, the sheriff’s department is notified that a tenant needs to be removed from the premises. As the schedule of the sheriff’s department permits, a sheriff serves a five-day notice on the tenant.  The notice advises that a tenant has five days to get out of the property or the tenant will assist the landlord in locking the tenant out of the property pursuant to the order of the court.

The reality is that California law does not permit a landlord to act on his or her own behalf in locking a tenant out of rental property following a favorable order in an eviction trial. Rather, a landlord must wait until the sheriff serves the five-day notice about the tenant’s impending removal from the property and that five-day time period expires.

Dealing With a Tenant’s Property Following an Eviction

California is not like some states that permit a landlord to place a tenant’s property outside the premises after an eviction case has run its full course. In California, part of the eviction clean out process is properly dealing with a personal property a tenant has left behind. If an eviction clean out business is hired to clean up a rental property after an eviction, a landlord needs to make certain that a clean out specialist understands the law in this regard.

When the eviction process has run to completion and a tenant is no longer entitled to access to the rental property, a landlord must take specific steps in regard to property left behind. First, a landlord must inventory the property left behind by the tenant. Second, a landlord must provide a tenant a notice about the items of property left. The notice must identify the property and explain how and where a tenant can go about retrieving the property. Third, as a general rule, a landlord must secure tenant property that has been left behind for a period of at least 15 days.

Eviction Clean Out Services: Cleanup to Sanitization

Evicted tenants are notorious for leaving the rental property in terrible condition. In some cases, this is the result of negligence on the part of the tenants. In many situations, tenants intentionally cause harm to the premises once eviction proceedings have been started against them.

In addition to dealing with a tenant’s personal property as a part of an eviction clean out, a primary issue is cleaning up and sanitizing the “mess” left behind by a tenant. A landlord must bear in mind that when faced with an eviction clean out, a property owner or manager may need to address dangerous biohazards that exist at the premises. These potential hazards can include everything from rotting food to feces and urine to blood, bodily fluids other biological materials.

Because these substances can contain dangerous pathogens which can cause serious and even fatal disease, a landlord is wise to engage the services of an experienced, skilled eviction clean-out business. 

The best way to ensure that eviction clean outs properly are undertaken is through the hiring of experienced, skilled eviction clean out services. Such an eviction clean out service must have a solid understanding of all elements of this process, including the legalities of the eviction clean out process, when and how to remove personal property from a rented property, and how to embark upon a safe, thorough cleaning and sanitization process.


Emily Kil

Co-Owner of Eco Bear Biohazard Cleaning Company

Together with her husband, Emily Kil is co-owner of Eco Bear, a leading biohazard remediation company in Southern California. An experienced entrepreneur, Emily assisted in founding Eco Bear as a means of combining her business experience with her desire to provide assistance to people facing challenging circumstances. Emily regularly writes about her first-hand experiences providing services like biohazard cleanup, suicide cleanup, crime scene cleanup, unattended death cleanup, and other types of difficult remediations in homes and businesses.