Eviction Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When can I file an eviction lawsuit?
- Eviction lawsuits can only be brought when the tenant has broken their contract with the landlord.
Do I have to give a notice to the tenant before I can sue them for eviction?
- In most cases, when the tenant has broken the contract the landlord must give the tenant notice of the broken contract before filing the lawsuit.
- One exception to this is if the tenant is in the property pursuant to an agreement for a specific period of time. If the tenant does not move out of the property when the lease expires, the lawsuit may be brought after a 30 day notice is given.
What type of eviction notices are there?
The law does not specifically identify notices, but the following is a list of common names:
- Three Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.
- Three Day Notice to Cure or Quit.
- Three Day Notice to Quit.
- Thirty Day Notice to Quit.
- Sixty Day Notice to Quit.
How is a Notice served?
- A notice may be served by any adult. The notice must be served by one of the following methods. If the notice is not served by one the following methods, it is void.
- Personal Service. The notice is delivered to the tenant in person.
- Substitute Service. The notice is delivered to another adult on the property and mailed to the tenant.
- Posting Service. The notice is posted on the door and mailed.
- Please note, that in the second two methods of service, the notice is mailed. If you are uncertain, there is no harm in mailing. The notice is only required to be mailed by first class mail, certified or regular mail is not necessary.
What is a Three Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit?
- This notice must be served when the tenant has failed to pay the rent. The tenant must pay the amount demanded or move out of the property within three days. If the third day falls on a weekend or holiday, then the tenant has until the following business day.
- This notice is void if it demands more rent than is due. This notice must contain numerous other disclosures. Charlton Weeks LLP will prepare and serve a notice for you as a part of the eviction.
What is a Three Day Notice to Cure or Quit?
- This notice must be served when the tenant has failed to comply with a term of the rental agreement between you and the tenant, and in some cases, broken the law.
- The tenant must cease breaking the contract within three days or vacate the property. Common reasons for a Three Day Cure or Quit is a pet in the rental unit or more people living in the rental unit than is allowed under the rental agreement. Since late charges cannot be demanded on the Three Day Notice to Pay Rent of Quit, if the landlord wants to start an eviction based upon non-payment of a late charge, the proper notice to give is a Three Day Cure or Quit, with the item to cure being the payment of the late charge.
- If the matter goes to trial, the landlord must prove that the tenant was in breach of the lease at the time the notice was served and failed to stop the breach within the three day period. Therefore, the Three Day Cure or Quit is the inappropriate notice to give for intermittent problems such as loud music or drug sales. See "What is a Three Day Quit"
What is a Three Day Notice to Quit?
- This notice must be served when the tenant has failed to comply with a term of the rental agreement and by law is not entitled to fix that breach. The tenant is required to move out of the property within three days.
- The most common example is commission of a crime or giving the rental property to another person. Another common use of this notice is when the tenant is intermittently breaching the lease.
- The law does not require that the landlord give advance notice before serving a Three Day Notice to Quit. However, in court the landlord will be obligated to prove that the tenant has been breaching the lease in an intermittent manner such that a Three Day Notice to Quit is reasonable. It is suggested that for intermittent breaches of the lease, such as constant loud music or excess persons on the property, at least three letters be sent to the tenant warning the tenant that if the conduct continues, the landlord will serve a Notice to Quit.
- Serious violations, such as a commission of a crime, do not need such notices.
What is a Thirty Day Notice to Quit?
- This notice demands the tenant vacate the property within thirty days. The landlord is not obligated to offer any reason for issuing this notice. See "When does the three days expire in a three day notice" for how to calculate the expiration of this notice. This notice may be served in any way a Three Day Notice can be served and it can also be served by registered mail.
- One of the advantages of this notice is that common tenant defenses are not available to evictions based upon this type of notice. For example, defenses based on the condition of the property are not allowed.
Can I serve a thirty or sixty day notice before the expiration of the lease?
- If the tenant lives in the property pursuant to a term lease, for example a one year lease, then the landlord cannot serve a notice for the tenant to vacate the property unless the tenant has broken the lease. Once the lease has expired the landlord does not have to serve a notice before filing the eviction. If the landlord accepts rent, then the lease continues on a month to month (if the rent is paid monthly and the lease does not state to the contrary) basis. In that case the landlord may serve a thirty day notice.
Does a lease remain in effect after it expires?
- Yes. The only difference is that the term of a lease after it expires is month to month, unless the rent is paid in more often intervals or the lease states to the contrary.
This information is only certain to be true in the Antelope Valley of California. While these FAQs are generally true, they have not been checked against such things as local county or local Court rules except in the Antelope Valley. If you are anywhere other than in the Antelope Valley, you should check with local Counsel before making any plans based on this information.