Eviction Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When does the three days expire in a three day notice?
- The first day of a three day notice is the day after you served the notice. Service is when the last act necessary for service is performed. For example, if the notice was posted on Tuesday and mailed on Wednesday, the notice was served on Wednesday.
- The third day of the three day notice is three days after the day the notice was served. For example, if the notice was served on Monday, third day is Thursday and expires that day.
- If the third day falls on a day that is not a business day, then, by operation of law, that day is not counted. Non-business days are counted unless they are the third day.
- For example, if a three day notice is served on Wednesday, then the first day would fall on Thursday and the third day would fall on Saturday. Since Saturday is a non-business day, then that day is not counted and neither is Sunday. The third day would be Monday. If Monday was a holiday, then the third day would be Tuesday.
- For example, if a three day notice was served on Friday, the first day would be Saturday and the third day would be Monday.
- In all cases, suit can be filed the day after the notice expires, the third day.
What happens if the tenant offers the rent before the three day notice expires?
- If the tenant offers all the rent demanded in the notice before the notice expires, the tenant has complied with the notice. If the landlord refuses the rent, an eviction cannot be brought based upon that notice.
What happens if the tenant offers less rent than required under the three day notice?
- The landlord is not penalized for refusing less than the rent demanded in the three day notice. If the landlord accepts rent, even if it is less than the amount demanded, then an eviction cannot be brought based upon that notice.
Why do tenants get to stay in the property when they owe the rent?
- We understand that getting possession of your property as soon as possible is most important. All actions we take are to achieve this goal. Our legislature has given tenants the right to stay in the property even if they have not paid the rent. In California the only way to get possession of your property is if the tenant voluntarily returns possession to you or if the Sheriff returns possession to you. Before the Sheriff will return possession to you, we must go through the court process. The legislature designed this process to take time.
Prejudgement claim of right to possession?
- When the Sheriff serves the tenants the eviction notice, they also serve a form called a "Claim of Right to Possession" on the rental property. This gives persons other than the tenants named in the eviction suit notice of the eviction and notice that they can now claim to be a tenant. If a person then makes this claim, a whole new trial will need to be performed regarding that person. Usually that person is a relative and was never a tenant. The purpose is always to stall the eviction.
- A Prejudgment Claim of Right to Possession is the name of a form that we have the Process Server serve on the rental unit. This prevents a person from claiming later that they were a tenant in the property. This prevents surprises at the lock out and reduces the average time of evictions. We do this for you free of charge.
What does it mean to "serve" the lawsuit?
- The law requires that all lawsuits be delivered to the defendant. "Served" is the legal term for delivery.
- A lawsuit is served by delivery to the tenant. Another name for the lawsuit is "process." Which is why the person who delivers the papers to the tenant is called a "Process Server."
Why does service of the lawsuit take time?
- The lawsuit cannot be served until we have filed the suit with the court, the court has processed the suit, and returned it to us for service. It usually takes the court about a day to process the suit and return it to our Process Server. Our Process Server then will go to the rental property or other address you have given us.
- The Process Server must make at least three attempts on three different days to serve the tenant. If on the third or subsequent attempt any adult is on the property that person may be delivered the lawsuit.
- If no adult is found on the property, then we apply to the court for permission to post a copy of the lawsuit on the door. Once we receive that permission from the court, the Process Server posts the suit on the door and the suit is considered served on that day.
Can the tenant be served if they don't answer the door?
- No. In order for a service to count, the Process Server must make eye contact with the tenant and indicate to them they have the lawsuit. Therefore, if the tenant does not answer the door, the suit is not served. It is not uncommon for tenants to refuse to answer the door when they know they have been sued for eviction. The court also mails the tenant notice they have been sued, so they are often aware the Process Server is coming.
- Problems also arise where the property is surrounded by a wall or only children are left on the property. In that case, after the three attempts, we apply to the court for permission to serve the lawsuit by posting it on the door.
Can the tenant be served at work?
- Yes. However, this will only count for the tenant who works at that location. If two are sued, and one works, only that tenant can be served at work, the other will need to be served at the rental property or other location.
What if you cannot find the tenant and no one ever answers the door?
- After we have made at least three different attempts at different times of the day, we can apply to the court for permission to post the lawsuit on the door of the rental unit. Since what we are asking the court for is an order, this is informally called "Order to Post" or an "OTP." The lawsuit is mailed to the tenant at the same time. We are not allowed to post it on the door until after we have received the judge's permission. It usually takes the judge about five days.
- If we can help it, we try not to serve the tenant by posting the lawsuit on the door because the tenant gets fifteen days after the posting to respond to the suit.
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.