How To Serve An Initial Eviction Notice In California

Typically, the first step in the eviction process is to “serve” a 3-day, 30-day, or 60-day notice on the tenant. The terms “serve” and “service” refer to procedures required by the law that are designed to increase the likelihood that the person to whom notice is given actually receives the notice. There are different ways that landlords may serve a California eviction notice. Here is a brief overview of acceptable methods of service.

Personal Delivery

The initial notice is properly served if it is delivered in person to the tenant. This can be done by the landlord, the landlord’s agent, a process server, sheriff, or anyone at least 18 years old. The person serving the eviction notice must physically hand the notice to the tenant or leave it with the tenant if he refuses to take it. Service is deemed complete and effective at the time of delivery of the notice. The notice period begins to run the day after service is complete.

Substituted Service

If the tenant is not at home or work, the landlord can use “substituted service” instead of personal service. Under this method the notice can be left with a person of “suitable age and discretion” at the tenant’s home or work. A person of suitable age and discretion normally would be an adult at the home or workplace, or a teenage member of the household.

Posting and Mailing

If the landlord cannot effectuate service by either of the above methods, the notice can be served by affixing a copy of it to the rental unit in a conspicuous place (such as the front door of the rental unit) and by mailing another copy to the tenant at the rental unit’s address. This service method is known as “posting and mailing” or “nailing and mailing.” Service of the notice is not complete until the copy of the notice has been mailed. The 3-day period begins the day after the notice was posted and mailed.

Rebuttable Presumption Of Proper Service By Registered Process Server

If service occurs by a licensed process server, his or her declaration of service creates a rebuttable presumption that service was properly effectuated. This means that service is presumed by the court to be valid. To overcome this presumption, the tenant must come forward with affirmative evidence that he or she was never served with the notice.

Please contact Lynx Legal if you have any questions regarding the above, or if you would like further information on our services. We can be reached at 888-441-2355 or Our experienced professionals are standing by to answer any inquiries you may have.

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