In California, the way to initiate an eviction proceeding against a tenant who is behind on rent is to serve him or her with a 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. The three-day notice is an official document informing your tenant that they have three days to pay their rent or you will take legal action in the eviction process. This article discusses the rules and requirements for such a notice.
Contents Of A Three Day Notice To Pay Or Quit
The courts are very strict on what needs to be included in a 3 Day Notice. Minimally, the Notice must:
be in writing;
contain a description of the rental property;
describe the breach, demand that it be cured, and identify the dollar amount owed (do not include anything other than unpaid rent in the figure)
demand possession of the premises;
state the time frame within which the tenant has to comply (i.e. 3 days).
It is very important to comply with these requirements. Any defect in the contents of the notice will likely result in a dismissal of your court case, requiring that you start the process over again.
When Can A Three Day Notice Be Served?
The 3-day notice can be served the day after rent became due. If there is a written lease, you should review the lease to determine the rent due date. A grace period in the lease does not necessarily extend the rent due date. It all depends on the specific language of the lease agreement.
How To Serve The 3-Day Notice
Under California law, a landlord has three options when it comes to a 3 Day Notice:
1. The landlord or his/her agent can personally hand over the notice to the tenant at rental property.
2. If the tenant is not home, the landlord can effectuate “substitute” service on the tenant by leaving a copy 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.
3. Service can also be made by leaving the notice in a conspicuous location at the property by, for example, posting it to the front door.
Calculating The Three Day Notice Time Period
To calculate the three days, start the count on the day after you served the notice. Do not count Saturday, Sunday or court holidays. If the last day falls on a Saturday, Sunday or court holiday then the tenants have until the next court or business day to pay and that is the day that your notice to the tenants expires. Eviction proceedings can begin the day after the notice expires.
Its critical to properly calculate the 3 day period. If calculated incorrectly and the case ends up in court, the judge will likely dismiss the complaint and you will have to start all over again.
Should I Accept Payments After The 3-Day Notice Has Been Served?
If the tenant attempts to tender payment for the full amount due within the three day period, you must accept the payment and can’t evict the tenant for non-payment. The eviction ends upon full payment within the three day notice period. If the tenant attempts to tender a partial payment during the 3 Day period, you do not have to accept it. If the landlord accepts a partial payment the 3-day notice has been partially complied with and you can’t evict the tenant for non-payment of rent based on that notice. You would have to serve the tenant with a new 3-day notice with a revised amount.
Unless you are trying to work things out with the tenant, do not accept any payments after the 3-Day Notice has expired. Doing so would prevent you from relying on the notice in court as a basis for the eviction.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Our experienced professionals are standing by to answer any inquiries you may have.