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Notice to Pay Rent or Quit


A landlord cannot simply evict a tenant without properly ending the tenant’s legal right to tenancy.


Typically, this involves sending a notice to pay rent or quit. If the tenant does not answer the notice within a three to five-day period the landlord can file a lawsuit to evict the tenant.

Before starting the eviction process, there are legal steps a landlord must follow for the eviction to be valid. The first step is to provide some written notice three days in advance, formally called the notice to pay rent or quit to the tenant. The notice should include the landlord’s reasoning as to why the tenant is in violation of the lease agreement, in addition to a request for the tenant to bind their portion of the lease agreement.

Requirements of the Notice to Pay Rent or Quit

Must be in writing

Must provide the name of the tenant as it appears on lease agreement

State the exact address of the rental property

Provide the amount the tenant owes. This includes how many days or months the tenant is behind, in addition to the exact amount the tenant owes.

Provide the dates in which the tenant has defaulted on their obligations

Indicate that if the rent is not paid in full within three days of the date of the letter, if given directly to the tenant or three days from the date of arrival through mail, the tenant must vacate the premises

Provide the address where the tenant can pay the overdue rent amount

If the tenant does not respond to the request by the final day, the landlord should file an unlawful detainer case in court.

If the landlord wants to remove the tenant for reasons other than past due rent payments, such as illegal distribution of drugs or human trafficking, the landlord does not have to give the option for the tenant to cure misconduct.

Ending a month-to-month tenancy is a straightforward process. In most instances, barring rent controlled neighborhoods, the landlord can remove the tenant by creating a written notice with at least a 30-day warning of his or her intent to remove the tenant. If the tenant has lived in the unit for more than one year, the landlord must provide at least a 60-day advance warning of their intentions.

If the lease is a periodic lease, the written notice must be 30 or more days, unless the terms of the lease agreement indicate otherwise. If the lease terms indicate terms not congruent with California law, the minimum period that a tenant may have is at least seven days.