What is an Eviction Notice?

An Eviction Notice is basically the first step of the eviction process

An Eviction Notice is a written letter to either comply with your rental or lease agreement (whether it’s verbal or written) or vacate the property. Serving an Eviction Notice gives you the option to file an Unlawful Detainer in a court of law against the tenant, if they fail to comply.

Determining which Eviction Notice is the best letter to serve your tenant depends on the situation and the clauses in your lease if applicable. One of the most common forms a Landlord serves is based on non-payment of rent which would be a 3 Day to Pay or Quit, which gives the tenant the option to pay the rent within the three days they are served with the notice, or vacate the property. If the tenant fails to do either (pay or vacate) then the Landlord has the option on the fourth day, as long as the third day does not land on a Holiday or weekend, to file the legal proceedings (eviction) with the court.

Here are some other examples of notices that can be served for cause.

Whatever type of lease or rental agreement the tenant has - whether it’s fixed-term or month-to-month - if a tenant is being evicted with cause they generally have fewer legal options. The appropriate eviction notices with cause fall into the following types:

Pay Rent or Quit: Tenants who are in arrears paying rent have just a few days - usually three to five days - to pay their current rent due up to date or move out.

Cure or Quit: The tenant is given a specific amount of time in which to "cure" specific actions, such as keeping a pet that was not approved or creating disturbances. The amount of time given to correct the condition is usually negotiated with the landlord, but can be as little as three days depending upon the misbehavior.

Unconditional Quit: This type of notice has no conditions which would allow the tenant to reside in the property if met or complied with. A majority of states only allow unconditional quit notices in extreme cases, such as tenants who are repeatedly late paying rent, pay with checks that bounce or are involved in criminal activity.

An example of a notice that can be served without any cause (as long as there are no city ordinances such as Los Angeles Rent Control):

Notice to Vacate: This letter is usually a 30 Day Notice to Vacate (if the tenant has been residing in the property for under a year and not in a term lease but a month to month tenancy) or a 60 Day Notice to Vacate (if the tenant has been residing in the property for over a year and not in a term lease but a month to month tenancy). You do not have to give a specific reason to terminate the tenancy, but must give the appropriate time for them to vacate depending on how long they have lived at the property.

The tenants are still responsible for the rent up to when the notice expires (if they are normal paying tenants) and if they fail to pay the rent prior to the expiration of the notice, then you can serve a 3 Day Pay or Quit Notice. Just remember you cannot ask for the rent after the expiration date of the notice to terminate tenancy.

It depends upon the reason for eviction and the length of the tenant’s occupancy.

The appropriate Eviction Notice to serve for non-payment of rent would be a 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit, or a 30 or 60 Day Notice to Vacate.

If the tenant has been there for less than a year paying on a month to month basis and you want to terminate their tenancy, a 30 Day Notice to Vacate is the correct form to serve. If the tenant has been there for over a year, a 60 Day Notice to Vacate is the eviction notice you want to serve.

Non-compliance with their rental or lease agreement - like subletting out to additional tenants - would be a Notice to Perform Covenant. Creating a nuisance or criminal activity would be a 3 Day Notice to Quit.

This can also be influenced depending upon whether or not you are in a rent control city. If your property is under rent control it is advisable for you to contact an attorney for the specific requirements of rent control.

Commercial leases differ from residential leases in that you have to make sure if you are naming a corporation or LLC, that you serve the right person or agent for that corporation or LLC.

Another important difference between a commercial and a residential lease are that once the notice is filed you can accept payment of rent during the eviction process, so long as it does not exceed the amount on the notice you served them with – and so long as you serve them with the correct commercial notice. With residential leases, you cannot accept payment without jeopardizing your case.

Serving the right notice is the critical first step beginning the eviction process so you can legally file an Unlawful Detainer complaint against the unwanted tenant.