Part of my practice is landlord-tenant work. I represent tenants who are being evicted or who may be evicted. After getting a fair number of calls this week from tenants, I thought I would share some tips for tenants who may need help.
1. Which Notice Is Proper. The first step in any eviction is for you to be notified. A month to month lease can be terminated for no reason with a 30 or 60 day notice. However, a 3 day notice is proper if you fail to pay rent, violate a lease provision, materially damage the property, interfere with the rights of other tenants or use the property for an illegal purpose.
2. Rent Amount on Notice is Key. The most important item on a 3day notice for failure to pay rent is the amount due. The notice “must accurately state the amount of rent that is due.”
3. Paying Late Rent. The notice must tell you where you can pay the rent either in person, with the usual hours, or the information on the bank that will take payment. The landlord cannot normally require cash payment.
4. Service of the Notice. The landlord must serve the notice in person. If the landlord cannot serve you in person, the landlord can serve you at work. If you are not available at work or at home, then and only then can the landlord serve by posting the notice and mailing a copy.
5. Responding to an unlawful detainer. If the landlord wants to evict you and you have not moved out voluntarily, you will be served with an unlawful detainer. You only have 5 days to respond to this. Your response may be a demurrer, a motion to strike, a motion to quash or an answer.
This list is not exhaustive. But if you want more tips on how to protect yourself as a tenant, email me for my report. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you this report for free.