If you are a landlord considering or needing an eviction in Southern California you need to know what type of eviction notice to serve your tenant before you can file an unlawful detainer and begin eviction proceedings.
California law requires that you need to serve an eviction notice before you file an eviction lawsuit to get your property back.
The eviction notices are:
The three day notice to pay rent or quit
Three day notice to cure or quit.
Three day notice to quit
A thirty day notice to quit
A sixty day notice to quit.
A ninety day notice to quit
A commercial 3 day pay rent or quit notice.
Be aware however, that if your lease or rental agreement specifies a longer period for the tenant you must abide by the leases terms subject to certain exceptions discussed below...
This guide will start by explaining when to use a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit which is generally the most often reason you need to terminate your tenants tenancy.
When to use a three day notice to pay rent or quit
A three day notice to pay rent or quit is used when your tenant has failed to pay rent when it is due.
A three day notice must contain and ONLY contain the exact amount of rent due but must also include information such as who to pay rent to, what person to deliver the rent to, the name and phone number of a person that is authorized to accept the rent, the usual days and hours that person will be available to accept rent. This notice should be addressed to the tenant and signed by the landlord's authorized agent as well have the address of the premises the tenants are occupying it on it as well.
Eviction law is very technical and a three day notice cannot include late feees or other charges and not overstate the amount of rent due. A three day notice that overstates the amount of rent due will preclude you from evicting your tenant and if the tenant has an attorney could possibly have you be paying the tenants attorneys fees and court costs if the tenant shows the notice was overstated. Also, if your property is under rent control you must follow all applicable laws relating to the rent control ordinance or the tenant may be able to claim a defense to the eviction by your non-compliance. If you live in a rent controlled jurisdiction ALL laws relating to rent control must be followed.
Remember evictions are for the recovery of real property so the law in California holds that you must strictly adhere to the requirements of notice to your tenant before you are allowed to evict them. The tenant is entitled to a trial if they contest the eviction on even issues such as service of an eviction notice. Trial can cost valuable time and money so it is best to make sure your notice is correctly filled out and served.See our video on how to fill out and serve a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit here.
When to use a 30 day notice of termination of tenancy
A thirty day notice to quit is to be used when you have a tenant who is on a month to month tenancy and has occupied the premises for LESS than a year.
It must contain a clause at the bottom of the notice that states the tenant is allowed to reclaim their abandoned property.
You cannot use a thirty day notice if your tenant is on a fixed term lease that hasn’t expired.
For example. If your tenant is on a year lease and is only 6 months into the lease and you want to evict them, serving a 30 day notice will not terminate their tenancy.
Also, keep in mind that if you are in a rent control jurisdiction like the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance do not allow the use of a 30 day notice to terminate a tenant's residency. Under LARSO you need just cause to evict. Ordinances such as LARSO require just cause for eviction and a 30 day notice is not permitted under the ordinance.
A 30 day notice is also used to terminate a month to month tenancy that is commercial even if the tenant has resided there for over a year. Note that this only applies if your commercial tenant is on a month to month tenancy. If your commercial tenant is on a fixed term tenancy you will need a reason such as failure to pay rent or breach of a lease covenant to evict.
When to use a 60 day notice of termination of tenancy
A sixty day notice of termination must be used to terminate a month to month tenancy that is residential if the tenant has resided at the premises for over one year. No reason must be given for serving such a but you cannot accept rent for the notice for any period after the notice expires.
A sixty day notice of termination must also have the clause that abandoned property can be reclaimed by the tenant.
A sixty day notice will not work if your property is under the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance.
When to use a 90 day notice of termination of tenancy
A 90 day notice is the notice usually needed to terminate a tenant who is receiving government subsidized housing such as Section 8.
Section 8 must be notified of the termination and the notice must be served on the tenant.
You cannot collect rent after the 90 day notice expires and if the tenant is still in possession after expiration you must file an eviction lawsuit to get back your property.
When to use a 3 day notice to cure or quit
A tenant can be given a 3 day notice to cure or quit if they are breaching a specific lease covenant such as not having pets or having unauthorized occupants.
The breach of the lease must be not be trivial and must be substantial breach of the lease and can be used in both commercial and residential tenancies. A minor breach of the lease will ordinarily not hold up in an eviction trial against your tenant. Also, if there is no covenant or clause in your lease that prohibits the activity you wish to evict for it will be unable for you to evict your tenant.
Please note that when using this notice you must specifically describe what the tenant needs to do to cure the lease violation and it's best to specify which clause of the lease is being violated specifically.
If the tenant contests the eviction you will have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the tenant not only violated the lease but did not correct the lease violation and continued in possession past the period specified in the notice.
When to use a 3 day notice to quit
A three day notice to quit gives the tenant no alternative of curing. The only reason you can serve a 3 day notice to quit is if the tenant is using the premises unlawfully, creating a nuisance, or destroying the premises by committing waste.
The 3 day notice to quit can be used when the violation of your rights as a property owner is so serious that you need the tenant evicted. A three day notice to quit may be the hardest notice to prove because if the tenant contests the eviction you will have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the tenant committed the acts specified in the notice and that those acts justified termination of the tenants tenancy without giving the tenant an option to cure the violation and stay in the premises.
When to use a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit in a commercial tenancy
A commercial 3 day notice to pay rent to quit is substantially similar to a three day notice to pay rent or quit for residential tenancies except the notice may state that the rent demanded int the notice is an estimate.
A notice that is for a commercial tenancy can be an estimate because often times commercial tenancies have Common Area Maintenance charges included in the lease. Unlike a residential 3 day notice to pay rent or quit, a commercial tenancy must put the amount due as estimated no more than 20 percent than what is actually due. A notice based on failure to pay rent in a commercial lease must also have a clause stating that the amount demanded is clearly demanded as an estimate. Nevertheless, it is important to make sure you keep a ledger for your commercial tenant so you can be sure of monies collected are as accurate as possible should the tenant contest the eviction and it go to trial.
A commercial 3 day notice should have the statement that:
PURSUANT TO CCP 1161.1(a), A THREE-DAY NOTICE FOR NONPAYMENT OF RENT ON COMMERCIAL PROPERTY MAY STATE THE AMOUNT DUE AS AN ESTIMATE...SO LONG AS THE AMOUNT IS "CLEARLY IDENTIFIED" BY THE NOTICE AS AN ESTIMATE. FURTHER, THE AMOUNT DEMANDED HEREIN SHALL BE DEEMED "ESTIMATED" PER CALIFORNIA CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 1161.1(a).
It is worthwhile to note that if your commercial lease allows the tenant a longer period such as 10 days to pay rent if they are delinquent you will have to give them a longer time to pay rent than the usual three day specified by the lease.
When No notice is required to terminate a tenancy
No notice is required to terminate a tenancy when the tenant is on a fixed term lease and the lease expires. You cannot accept rent for any period after the term of the fixed term lease or else the lease becomes a month to month tenancy subject to the notice provisions above.
If you accept rent after a fixed term tenancy has expired all of the covenants in the lease still exist but you will have to serve a 60 day notice to terminate the tenants tenancy if the lease was for a year or more, or a 30 day notice to terminate the tenancy if the lease was for a year or less or it was a commercial tenant.
In conclusion, there are other notices that can be served and other grounds for eviction such as post foreclosure notices but they are outside the scope of this article. Be aware that landlord tenant law in California changes often and staying up to date whether you are a landlord or tenant is of utmost importance.