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tenants move in before lease is signed and have not paid rent

I live in Arizona and planned on renting my house in Sacramento, California to my old neighbor on a month to month basis.  She asked me if they could gradually move in ther stuff in the middle of the month and  then start paying rent on the 1st of the month.  I said yes because I knew her and as long as she did not stay in the house.  She ended up moving everything in and staying there prior the first of the month.  It is now the middle of the first month and I still have not received payment for deposit, the 1st months rent and the signed lease which I have been asking for the last 3 weeks.  I have asked them to pay or get out by the 13th of the month, which is two days away.  They are squatting.  What are my options for getting out a squatter.  Do I still need to give a 3 day even though I have never received a payment or signed lease.  I feel like such a sucker for being so nice to my ex-neighbor.

Hi Susan,  I suggest you talk to a CA RE-Lawyer ASAP. In the future, since you're out of town, you might want to consider hiring a RE company to find you a tenent. Most charge approx 1/2 months rent. For this, they do all the advetising w/pictures, credit screening and showing of the property. When they have a posible tenant, have them email you a copy of their credit report and application for your final approval. After that, you can have the tenant do a direct deposit into a "deposit only" checking acct. After rent monies have cleared, transfer it into your rental checking acct. Don't mix your personal acct with rental income/expenses. IRS doesn't like that. You can also consider having an agency to handle collecting rent, etc. If you decide to handle everything, make sure you have a good trusted handyman to do the minor repairs. Also, have on hand an agency to serve a 3-days notice when renter violates the lease. A few things to think about...especially since you're out of state.
Susan: You MUST go through the proper procedures for the state of CA to evict your tenant. You may want to hire an attorney to represent you since you are a bit of a distance away. Generally, non-payment cases are fairly cut and dry; an attorney would probably end up costing you less than the travel back and forth. NEVER, and I am sure you have learned this already now, GIVE the keys without the $$$$ up front! Good luck!!!
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