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Three-day notice to pay rent or quit in California

A three-day notice to pay rent or quit in California is the topic of this blog post.

A three-day notice to pay rent or quit is one of the most common notices that a landlord will serve on a tenant in California.

Situations when a three-day notice to pay rent or quit is used.

A three-day notice to pay rent or quit in California is used by a landlord in order to demand that a tenant or tenants pay the rent that is overdue within thee days or vacate the premises. However, the law requires that the three-day notice be prepared and served correctly, and it must contain certain information. It also must allow the tenant the opportunity to cure the default in the payment of rent or vacate the premises.

Information that must be included in the three-day notice to pay rent or quit in California.

One of the first things that any tenant served with a three day notice to pay rent or quit in California should do is closely examine the notice for defects. The notice must contain the following information.

The exact amount of rent due. If the amount is overstated the notice is defective and will not support an eviction proceeding. This rule does not apply to commercial tenancies.  The notice for a residential tenant cannot demand any amount for a “late fee”. Almost all judges would consider any notice containing a “late fee” to be defective as late charges are not considered rent.

It must not be served until after the stated amount of rent becomes due. In other words it cannot be served on the date the rent is due. This means that if a lease or rental agreement, which virtually all due, states that the rent is due on the first day of the month the three-day notice cannot be served until the second day of the month at the earliest. If the second day is on a weekend or holiday then the tenant has until the next business day to pay the rent without being considered late.

It must have the entire street address of the premises, state the time period for which the rent is overdue, must have the name, address and phone number of the person to pay the rent to, as well as the days of the week and hours in which the rent may be paid. If it does not state these items the notice is defective.

And if the address given for the payment of rent does not allow for personal delivery then it shall be conclusively presumed that upon the mailing of any rent or notice to the owner by the tenant to the name and address provided, the notice or rent is deemed received by the owner on the date posted, if the tenant can show proof of mailing to the name and address provided by the owner), or the number of an account in a financial institution into which the rental payment may be made, and the name and street address of the institution (provided that the institution is located within five miles of the rental property), or if an electronic funds transfer procedure has been previously established, that payment may be made pursuant to that procedure. So a tenant who cannot personally pay the rent because the address given is a post office box should mail the rent check, and get proof of mailing from the post office. That way the rent is considered paid on the date it is mailed.

When the three-day notice period expires and what you should do if you have been served with a three-day notice to pay rent or quit in California that is defective.

The date that the three-day notice to pay rent or quit is served does NOT count towards the three-day notice period. In other words if the notice is served on a Monday the three-day notice period begins on Tuesday and ends on Thursday of the same week.

And if the three-day notice period expires on a Saturday, Sunday or Court holiday then the tenant has until the next business day to comply with the notice.

If the three day notice is defective the best course of action is to wait until an eviction proceeding is filed and then use the defective notice as grounds for filing a demurrer to the complaint.

Sample demurrer to eviction complaint on the grounds that the three-day notice to pay rent or quit is defective.

Tenants in California who have been served with a defective three-day notice to pay rent or quit and wish to file a demurrer to the complaint can see below a portion of a sample demurrer complete with a memorandum of points and authorities with full citations to case and statutory authority that is sold by the author.


California eviction litigation document collection containing over 30 sample documents.

Attorneys or parties in California that would like more information on a California eviction litigation document package containing over 30 sample documents including a sample demurrer to an eviction complaint can use the link shown below.

California eviction litigation document package

The author of this article, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995. If you are in need of assistance with any California or Federal litigation matters, Mr. Burman is available on a freelance basis. Mr. Burman may be contacted by e-mail at DivParalgl@yahoo.com for more information. He accepts payments through PayPal which means that you can pay using most credit or debit cards.

Follow the author on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/LegalDocsPro

View legal document packages for sale at: http://www.legaldocspro.net

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter with legal tips and tricks for California. http://www.legaldocspro.net/newsletter.htm


8 Responses

  1. Thanks for the tip. Just finished beating an anti-slapp motion in state and appeals court. If interested, would love to share.


  2. what if it is a back house that is not have a permit ?


  3. Im looking for the California Civil Code to show my Landlord as proof that their nnotice is defective, would you happen to know it off the top of your head?


  4. Hi, my name is Kyle. What if the landlord served me with a defective 3 day notice on 10/3,(overstated rent by 10%, non-agent signed the notice)then served me with another notice that was not defective on 10/16.(rent was exact, and was signed by correct agent) They included the non-defective notice in the summons. Do I have an affirmative action or will the judge say they changed it correctly, so it is okay?

    Thank you


    • I cannot give legal advice. However, the general rule is that the last 3 day notice served supersedes or takes precedence over any prior notices. In other words most Judges would probably say that they changed it correctly.


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