Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit?

What is a 3-Day Notice to Perform Covenant?

What is a 30-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy?

What is a 90-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy?

What is a 24 Hours Notice to Enter Dwelling?

What is a Notice of Belief of Abandonment?

If I recently bought a property and want to evict the tenants left in there by the original owner and who are current on their rent, can I serve them a 30-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy?

I served a 30-Day notice to my tenant and they haven’t paid their rent for this month, what can I do?

My tenants moved out without giving proper notice, are they responsible for the rent that is still due for the days they were there?

If my tenant gives me a 30-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy, are they responsible for the rent for the entire thirty days even if they move out prior to the thirty days ending? And what happens if they fail to move within those thirty days?

If I mailed the notice by certified mail only, is it still a valid service?

I know the first name of a person living in my property who doesn’t belong in the property and didn’t sign the rental agreement, so should I include them on the notice?

A “squatter” moved into my property with out my knowledge and I called the police and they told me I had to evict the squatter, is that true?

There are still personal items of the tenant(s) left in the property after the lockout and/or after the tenants turned in keys/moved out, what do I do with them?

My tenant left their dog, cat or other household pet behind, what do I do with it?

The utilities are in my name but the tenant is supposed to pay them and they are past due, can I shut them off? Or the utilities are in my name, and I’ve paid them all along but since they aren’t paying me why should I pay the utilities?

I want to inspect the dwelling unit, but the tenant’s won’t let me in, can I just go in?

The tenants are destroying the property, what can I do?

I let a relative move into my property to allow them to get their finances in order. I let them live there rent free but it was only supposed to be for a short time. They’ve been there almost 18 months and I want to rent the property out to somebody else. What do I do?

I want to raise my tenants rent more than 10%, can I do this and if so what type of notice do I have to give?

I received a money judgment that was entered against the tenant that I evicted, but what is it?

If I already have a judgment, what is the abstract used for?

What does the uncontested flat rate of $599.00 or $629.00 include?

Are their any new laws regarding Security Deposits?

An owner called the office and had some questions about thirty day notices. The tenants were on a year lease, along with a Section 8 contract. The tenants were only two months into their lease and current with the rent. The problem was, she had two written complaints from surrounding neighbors referring to their loud music and traffic in and out of the apartment. Also, she had to send back the rent from both months because the amount the tenant paid was wrong, and it was actually less than what they owed and only then did the tenant send the correct amount, so technically they were late with rent for two months.


What is a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit?
A 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit is used to give any tenant notice that they owe rent for a certain period of time and they must either pay the rent due within 3 days or vacate the property within 3 days. If the tenant does not comply with the notice, an Unlawful Detainer action will have to be filed so that the owner may regain possession of the property. If the tenant chooses to vacate the property within the three days, the owner can still file a small claims complaint against the tenant for the unpaid rent. This notice is usually served on a tenant after the rent has become late according to the rental agreement, usually rent is due on the first and late on the fifth so the notice could be served on the sixth. (3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit)

What is a 3-Day Notice to Perform Covenant?
A 3-Day Notice to Perform Covenant is used to give tenant who is on a written rental agreement notice that they have breached their contract in some manner and that breach needs to be cured. This notice can be used to ask for late fees as long as there is a clause in the written agreement which can be sited. This notice can also be used for a non-paid security deposit, an unauthorized pet, or a utility payment which is due. As long as there is clause in the agreement which can be cited, this notice can be used to give the tenant notice of the breach in contract and how the tenant needs to cure the breach. The tenant is supposed to comply with the notice within 3 days, or legal action may be taken. (3-Day Notice to Perform Covenant)

What is a 30-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy?
A 30-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy is used to give a month to month tenant, notice that the owner wishes to regain possession of the property after the 30 days have expired. This notice can only be used on tenants who are on a month to month tenancy, or tenants who can be considered “tenants at will”. The tenant is given notice that he/she/they are expected to vacate the property by the expiration of the notice. The tenants are responsible for all of the rent until the expiration of the notice, even if they move out early. If the tenants do not vacate the property by the expiration of the notice, an Unlawful Detainer action will have to be filed so that the owner may regain possession of the property. The owner does not have to specify a reason for the notice on the notice or otherwise, good cause is not an issue. (30-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy)

What is a 90-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy?
California Civil Code section 1954.535 requires an owner to provide a 90 day notice to a tenant of a termination or failure to renew a government contract. This statue is applicable to Section 8 tenant-based contracts for units in rent control and non-rent control jurisdictions. During the 90 day period, the tenant’s portion of the rent cannot be increased.)

What is a 24 Hours Notice to Enter Dwelling?
This notice is given to the tenant to notify them that the owner or authorized agent needs to enter the premises within 24 hours. The notice may be given if the owner wishes to inspect the property, needs to do necessary or agreed upon repairs, or show the dwelling unit to prospective purchasers. The owner should state the reason for entrance on the notice. The entrance of the premises should be done during normal business hours. The notice should be served on the tenant, first attempt personal and substitute service, or post the notice if necessary, and 24 hours after the notice has been served, the owner or agent can enter the dwelling, pursuant to Civil Code §1954. If the tenant does not allow entrance to the premises, the owner may have to get local law enforcement to help enforce the notice. Some law enforcement agencies may not enforce the notice, but the more information you have to educate the local law enforcement about the notice, such as a copy of Civil Code §1954 to provide them with, as well as a copy of the notice and proof that you served the tenant, will help in your efforts to gain entry into the dwelling unit.

What is a Notice of Belief of Abandonment?
This notice can be given if an owner or agent believes the premises to have been abandoned.

If I recently bought a property and want to evict the tenants left in there by the original owner and who are current on their rent, can I serve them a 30-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy?
Yes if the tenant has lived there less than 12 months, if the tenant has lived there more than 12 months, regardless of the owner, a 60 Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy must be served. The length of time that the tenants have lived in the property doesn’t start over with a new owner.

I served a 30-Day notice to my tenant and they haven’t paid their rent for this month, what can I do?
Serve them with a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, and if they don’t comply, you can begin the Unlawful Detainer as soon as the 3-Day expires instead of waiting for the 30-Day Notice to expire.

My tenants moved out without giving proper notice, are they responsible for the rent that is still due for the days they were there?
Yes, the tenant is actually responsible for the rent for a period of 30 days, beginning the date that the owner finds out the property has been abandoned. You can deduct the rent owed from their security deposit. If a security deposit isn’t available, you can file a small claims complaint for the rent that is due.

If my tenant gives me a 30-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy, are they responsible for the rent for the entire thirty days even if they move out prior to the thirty days ending? And what happens if they fail to move within those thirty days?
Yes, the tenant is required to pay the rent for the entire 30 days. If the tenant fails to move after the expiration of their 30-Day Notice, you can proceed with an eviction against the tenants with no further notice.

If I mailed the notice by certified mail only, is it still a valid service?
This type of service can only be done for 30/90-Day notices, not 3-Day notices. Then it depends on if the tenant signed for the notice himself or herself. If this is how you want to serve, or did serve, make sure you checked the box that said someone had to sign for the notice when you filled out the certified mail form. Also remember that the post office will attempt up to three times to deliver the notice before returning it to you, this can take up to 15 or more days for the procedure, and if it is returned as unclaimed, you have just lost those 15 days. If it’s signed by the tenant, it can be argued to be a personal service. If its signed by someone else other than the tenant-this is a little harder to prove as a substitute service because of age factors and such so it would be wise to try and personally serve the notice or posting of the property. If the notice comes back as never been received, definitely go and serve the notice by either personal, substitute, or posting and first class U.S. mail-Refer to section on Service

I know the first name of a person living in my property who doesn’t belong in the property and didn’t sign the rental agreement, so should I include them on the notice?
If you are informed and believe that a person is living in the property who is not a party to the rental agreement, you should name them on the notice. If you have knowledge of their presence and their name, then they are not an “unknown occupant” so they should be included on the notice.

A “squatter” moved into my property with out my knowledge and I called the police and they told me I had to evict the squatter, is that true?
Unfortunately, yes. The squatter must first be served with a 30-Day Notice to Terminate Tenancy, they are a tenant at will. If they don’t comply with the notice, you will have to start an Unlawful Detainer against them.

There are still personal items of the tenant(s) left in the property after the lockout and/or after the tenants turned in keys/moved out, what do I do with them?
– All personal items left by the tenant must be kept for a period of 15 days by law.

– If the items need to be removed from the property, they must be stored in a safe place for the 15 days.

– You can charge the tenant either the daily rental value of the property or the daily rental value of the storage unit for storing their property.

– It is a good idea to mail a letter and post one on the property, letting the tenant(s) know that their property will either be disposed of or sold after the 15 days if it is not claimed. Remember always keep a copy of any correspondence!

– After the 15 days have passed, if the items are valued under $300.00 you can dispose of them.

– If the items are valued at $300.00 or over, a public auction must be held.

– It is always a good idea to take pictures of all of the items/property left behind as inventory of what was disposed of or sold. Always anticipate the worst, and hope for the best!

My tenant left their dog, cat or other household pet behind, what do I do with it?
An animal is considered personal property of the tenants and must be stored and humanely taken care of for 15 days. You can charge the tenant for the care and storage of the animal if they wish to reclaim it. Once 15 days has passed, you can keep the animal, find it a home, or take it to the nearest animal shelter. Send a notice to the tenants and post one on the property.

The utilities are in my name but the tenant is supposed to pay them and they are past due, can I shut them off? Or the utilities are in my name, and I’ve paid them all along but since they aren’t paying me why should I pay the utilities?

No! You cannot turn the utilities off. Even if the utilities are past due and they aren’t paying you, you cannot stop paying them or have them turned off. Doing so will only cause you more problems in the end. These actions can be construed as retaliatory towards the tenant, especially during an eviction. Turning off the utilities could also stop the eviction entirely.

I want to inspect the dwelling unit, but the tenant’s won’t let me in, can I just go in?
No, first you need to serve them with a 24 Hours Notice of Intent to Enter Dwelling. Once the 24 hours are up, you may inspect the unit. If the tenant still refuses to allow you to inspect the property, you may have to get local law enforcement involved in order to enforce the notice. Not all local law enforcements will allow you to go in, but if you properly served the notice and educate the officer about Civil Code §1954, and possibly have a copy of the code with you to show the officer.

The tenants are destroying the property, what can I do?
Call the local law enforcement. If there is physical signs that the property is being destroyed, call local law enforcement to make a report, let them know that this may be happening because you either served the tenant with some sort of a notice or that they are in the process of an eviction. If the destruction is raised to a point of vandalism, this is a separate crime and local law enforcement should be contacted and charges should be brought against the tenants.

I let a relative move into my property to allow them to get their finances in order. I let them live there rent free but it was only supposed to be for a short time. They’ve been there almost 18 months and I want to rent the property out to somebody else. What do I do?
In this situation the tenant is a “tenant at will”, you can serve them with a 30-Day Notice to Quit.

I want to raise my tenants rent more than 10%, can I do this and if so what type of notice do I have to give?
You can raise the rent more than 10% as long as the tenant is not on a fixed term lease or in a rent controlled area such as L.A., and all that you need to do is give the tenant a 60-Day Notice of Change in Terms of Tenancy instead of the usual 30-Day Notice.

I received a money judgment that was entered against the tenant that I evicted, but what is it?
The money judgment will usually be on the tenant’s credit for ten years and can be renewed thereafter for a small fee for anther ten years. Soon after a case is filed, the tenant will usually have an unlawful detainer/eviction showing on their credit. If a money judgment is entered for the eviction, the judgment will usually appear on their credit.

The money judgment is needed for any form of collections, whether it is through a collection agency or by way of a wage garnishment or bank levy. (see Collections)

If I already have a judgment, what is the abstract used for?
An abstract makes the money judgment public record and is recorded at the specified county’s Hall of Records. You want to record the abstract in the county where you know the tenant has some kind of interest such as the county they live in, neighboring counties, or a county where the tenant may be the owner of some property. The abstract will put a lien on any of the tenant’s real property they may have at the present time or may acquire in the future. The abstract will usually show up on the tenant’s credit any time they apply for a loan of some sort, try to acquire some sort of property, or try to refinance an existing loan or property. Credit agencies such as TRW/Experian and Equifax usually report any judgments and/or abstracts. Generally speaking the abstract is an annoyance to the tenant, and tenants tend to take care of paying off the judgment because they are usually unable to obtain any credit. (see Collections)

What does the uncontested flat rate of $599.00 or $629.00 include?
The flat rate includes:

~Processing fee
~Up to 2 known defendants
~Court filing fee
~Hand filing with the court
~Process servers fee to serve the summons
~Default/proof of service paperwork
~Issuance of Writ
~Sheriff’s fee for an eviction

However there are no refunds after your case has been filed with the court.

Are their any new laws regarding Security Deposits?
As of January 1, 2004, the landlord must include, with the Security Deposit Disposition Letter, copies of documents showing the charges that were deducted such as receipts for repair and labor, and must be able to provide information about the person doing the repairs. The Security Deposit Disposition Letter must be sent to the tenant within 21 days from the date they vacated the property, or the date you were notified they vacated the property, (Civil Code §1950.5).

An owner called the office and had some questions about thirty day notices. The tenants were on a year lease, along with a Section 8 contract. The tenants were only two months into their lease and current with the rent. The problem was, she had two written complaints from surrounding neighbors referring to their loud music and traffic in and out of the apartment. Also, she had to send back the rent from both months because the amount the tenant paid was wrong, and it was actually less than what they owed and only then did the tenant send the correct amount, so technically they were late with rent for two months.

First off, she isn’t able to serve either a 30-day notice because the tenant was on a year lease.

She could possibly serve a 3-Day Notice to Quit based on the grounds of nuisance. I let her know that this notice is a tough notice to prove in court, even in the best of circumstances, without an abundance of evidence to prove the nuisance to the Judge. Also, it was even more difficult to use for a Section 8 tenant, because if the tenant were to be evicted, their Section 8 standing would be jeopardized. To use the 3-day to quit based on nuisance, she would need to have the neighbors complaining be willing to testify in court against said tenants (possibly), written evidence such as letters from her to the tenants first regarding their numerous wrong rent payments and second addressing the nuisance problem. Always keeping a copy of the written correspondence for their records. Also, if the noise was illegal, say after 10:00 pm, calling the police would also document the complaints. So, the best thing to do to deal with these tenant’s, would be to wait it out a couple more months, gathering evidence to help support a 3-Day notice to quit. I also advised her that if the next month the tenants sent the wrong amount to return the payment along with serving them a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.

 

 


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