Terminating Leases In California: The 3-Day Notice and 30-Day NoticeIn California, a landlord may never rely upon self-help or forcible entry to dispossess a tenant. The California Code of Civil Procedure sets forth very specific procedures and notices that a landlord must adhere to.
Tenants in California are generally entitled to a minimum 3-day notice to terminate. A rental agreement may not provide for a shorter period. Under California law, the grounds for a 3-day notice of termination include:
- Tenant's nonpayment of rent
- Tenant's breach of another lease provision (other than payment of rent)
- Assignment, sublease, waste, nuisance or illegal activity.
If the 3-day notice of termination is based on nonpayment of rent, the notice must state the amount of rent due, and it may only be served after that amount has become due. If the amount of past-due rent is overstated, the notice may be void. Thus, as a landlord, you should carefully calculate the amount of rent owed by the tenant. In addition, the nonpayment notice should also include the name, telephone number, and address of the person to whom the rent should be paid. Download a California 3-day nonpayment notice here.
In certain instances, a tenant may be entitled to 30-days notice. These include termination of a month-to-month tenancy. If the month-to-month tenant has been residing in the unit for more than a year, California landlord-tenant law requires that the landlord give 60 days' notice.
There are situations in which a California landlord may proceed directly to court, without serving a termination notice. This occurs when a tenant fails to vacate the rented premises after the expiration of a fixed term. If this occurs, California law permits the landlord to file an unlawful detainer action without first serving the tenant with a notice to terminate.