What is a Notice of Abandonment

In California, a “notice of abandonment” refers to a legal document that a landlord can serve to a tenant under specific circumstances when it is believed that the tenant has abandoned the rental property. Abandonment typically refers to a situation where the tenant has left the property without any intention of returning, often evidenced by a significant absence and the absence of personal belongings.

What is a Notice of Abandonment

The notice of abandonment serves as a preliminary step for the landlord to legally regain possession of the rental unit. It outlines the landlord’s intention to retake possession of the property and terminate the tenancy due to abandonment. The specific requirements and procedures for serving a notice of abandonment can vary depending on local and state laws.

In California, the process for serving a notice of abandonment may include:


The landlord must inspect the property to determine whether the tenant has truly abandoned it. This inspection helps provide evidence for the claim of abandonment.

Reasonable Belief

The landlord must have a reasonable belief that the tenant has abandoned the property. This might be based on observations such as an extended absence, lack of communication, or the presence of an unusual amount of personal belongings left behind.

Written Notice

If the landlord reasonably believes the tenant has abandoned the property, they can serve a written notice of abandonment to the tenant. This notice informs the tenant that their absence has been noted and asks them to respond within a specific timeframe (usually a few days).

Tenant Response

If the tenant does not respond to the notice of abandonment within the specified timeframe, and there is still no indication of the tenant’s return, the landlord may proceed with regaining possession of the property.

It’s important to note that the process and requirements for serving a notice of abandonment can vary based on local ordinances and the terms outlined in the lease agreement. Landlords should familiarize themselves with California’s specific laws and consult legal counsel if needed to ensure that they follow the appropriate procedures and protect their rights as well as the rights of the tenant.