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What is a Three Day Notice To Pay Rent Or Quit?

First, a brief explanation of what a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit is. In jurisdictions such as California that use the 3-day notice, the notice is the first step in the eviction process based upon the tenant’s failure to pay rent. The notice is served on the tenant. The tenant then has three days to pay the rent in full. If the tenant pays the rent within the three days, the landlord must accept it, the default is cured, and the tenancy goes on. If the tenant fails to pay the rent within the three days, the tenant is in default and the landlord may file an eviction lawsuit (called an unlawful detainer in California) on day four.

After the three-day notice period runs, the tenant is no longer permitted to pay the rent and the landlord need not accept it. The landlord may accept rent if he wants to keep the tenant but he does not have to. If the landlord accepts rent after the three day period expires, however, the landlord waives his right to declare a default and cannot evict the tenant until a future non-payment of rent occurs.

When deciding whether to do the 3-day notice yourself, remember the 4 “C’s”: Content, Communicate, Consequences, and Cost. Regarding Content, the law mandates that certain information be included in the 3-day notice. Many landlords rely upon pre-printed, form 3-day notices. The landlord then handwrites in the information particular to that tenant and gives the notice to the tenant. These forms are usually legally sufficient and experienced landlords use the forms without a problem.


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