As a landlord, you have to serve legal notices to enforce the terms and conditions of the lease. Below is a list of the five common mistakes when serving a Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit:
- Extraneous Charges in the Notice
Unwary landlords can make a Three-Day Notice fatally defective by including any charge other than rent. In a residential Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, a landlord is limited to rent only. It is a good practice to breakdown the specific amount and month for which rent is owed and totals the balance at the end of the breakdown.
- Demanding Rent Older than 12 Months
A landlord is not allowed to demand rent that is older than 12 months. In other words, a landlord may only demand rent that is owed for up to one year.
- Failing to Knock on the Tenant’s Door When Serving
The most common method of service is “posting and mailing”. However, prior to posting and mailing, the server must first attempt to personally serve the notice on the tenant. A landlord can accomplish this attempt by simply knocking on the tenant’s door. Upon no response, a landlord may post the notice on the door and mail the notice by ONLY first class mail. Note: Certified Mail is improper.
- Failure to Use an Updated Form
Notice requirements periodically change. It is important to use the most updated form to ensure the legal sufficiency of the notice. For example, if a landlord is available for personally delivery of the rent, the notice must include the dates, times and location that the landlord is available to receive the rent owed.
- Failing to Block a Direct Deposit Account
Many problems may arise if a landlord has a direct deposit arrangement with the tenant and the notice requires payment to be made by via direct deposit. For example, if the tenant deposits partial rent, your notice would become defective as it now overstates the amount of rent owed. Therefore, you would have to reserve a new notice for the balance of rent owed. Similarly, your notice would become defective if a partial payment (or full payment) is deposited after the notice has expired and even after you have commenced your unlawful detainer action. If the tenant has failed to pay the total amount owed within the three-day notice period, the landlord must block the tenant’s ability to make any direct deposits. Contact your bank immediately to inquire how to block the account.
HRH was founded in 2001 and has litigated thousands of residential, commercial, and post foreclosure evictions. If you have any questions, please feel free to call (925) 417-8700.