California landlord-tenant law is very tenant friendly. A judge in an eviction case will not hesitate to throw a landlord’s case out if the landlord has not properly followed all the steps required to evict a tenant. The following are a few common mistakes that landlords make with giving eviction notices to tenants. As always please consult a real estate attorney before embarking on your own eviction notices.
Not Giving Proper Notice
Before a landlord is allowed start the eviction process, a landlord has to give the tenant proper notice. In California, there are three common notices: the 3-day notice, 30-day notice, and 60-day notice. Depending on the situation, a landlord may be required to give any of the above-mentioned notices.
Along with giving the correct notice, a landlord is also required to give a notice with the correct language for the eviction. For example, under California Civil Code of Procedure Section 1161(2) details exactly what needs to be in a 3-day notice to pay or quit. Failure to put the correct language means the notice is invalid and if the eviction proceeds to court, the judge will throw the case out. As always, best to consult an attorney to make sure your notice is correct.
Not Properly Serving the Notice
Assuming the landlord has the correct notice and has the correct language in the notice, the landlord has to also correctly “serve” the notice. “Serve” is a legal term basically meaning to deliver in a particular method. In California, to properly “serve” the notice, the landlord has to first attempt personal service (as in personally handing the tenant the notice). If the tenant is not available, the landlord is allowed to “sub-serve” meaning handing the notice to a person of 18+ of age at the property. If personal service and “sub-serve” is attempted and not achieved, then and only then can a landlord “post and mail,” which is posting the notice on the door and mailing the notice to the property address.
Again, failure to comply with these rules will allow the judge to dismiss a landlord’s case.
These are the two common traps that landlords commonly fall into. There are many notice templates online, but many of them are outdated or lack the required information for California. It is always highly advised to consult a real estate attorney to make sure you are giving the proper notice to avoid any delays in evicting a tenant.
Eric W. Ching is a real estate attorney with Ching & Associates, a real estate and business law firm with offices throughout California.