California Eviction Notices

California eviction notices inform a tenant that they have violated their lease or the landlord’s intention that they no longer want the tenant on the property. For late rent or non-compliance issues, the tenant will have three (3) days to remedy the issue or vacate the premises. If the tenant decides to do neither the landlord will be able to have them removed by filing an unlawful detainer lawsuit with their county court.

Notice Types

California 3 Day Notice to Comply or Quit

The California three (3) day notice to comply or quit is used by the landlord when a tenant has broken a written part of the lease agreement, and when the violation is correctable. The notice states that the tenant must either …

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California 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit

The California three (3) notice to pay or quit is served by a landlord to a tenant that has not paid his or her rent in a timely manner. The tenant has the option to either pay the past-due rent, or “quit” …

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How to Evict a Tenant (Process)

The eviction process in the State of California begins with handing the tenant notice a lease violation or the landlord’s intention to terminate their lease. This involves the landlord “serving” the tenant which is recommended to be via certified mail with return receipt in an effort to obtain the tenant’s acknowledgment of the notice. Afterwards, if the tenant is unresponsive and remains on the property the landlord will be required to file an Unlawful Detainer with the local trial court of where the property is located.

Step 1 – Use the Proper Notice

Failure to Pay Rent – The landlord must issue a 3-day notice to either pay the rent or vacate the property. If the rent is not paid within the 3 day period, or the tenant does not vacate the property, the landlord can begin the eviction lawsuit process.

Material Violation (Non-Compliance)– Tenants who have violated the lease agreement also have to be served with a 3-day notice as well. The 3-day period is designed to allow the tenant to remedy their correctable violation and remain a lawful renter of the property. If they do not correct their violation within the 3-day period, the landlord can then begin the unlawful detainer process.

Illegal Activity – Tenants who are conducting illegal activities in the rental property are required to vacate the property within the 3-day notice period.

Lease Termination (Month-to-Month Lease) – Tenants who are renting on a month-to-month basis must be given thirty (30) days’ notice if they have been renting for less than 1-year and sixty (60) days’ notice if they’ve been renting for 1-year or more. If the tenant is considered “section 8” then they shall receive ninety (90) days’ notice.

Step 2 – Deliver the Notice

The notice should be personally delivered to the tenant if possible. If not possible, the notice can be left at the rental property of the tenant with a person 18 years or older, or at the tenant’s place of employment. This option is known as “substituted service.” If using this option, the landlord must also mail a copy of the notice directly to the tenant (certified mail is recommended). Landlords can also post the notice on the main door of the rental property (but must mail a copy to the tenant as well). After the notice has been served in one of the manners described above and the waiting/notice period has lapsed, the landlord can begin the eviction lawsuit process.

Step 4 -File an Unlawful Detainer

The only method available to a landlord to legally evict a tenant in the State of California is to file an Unlawful Detainer.

The following 3 forms are required to complete:

Civil Case Cover Sheet (CM-010)
Unlawful Detainer Complaint (UD-100)
Pre-Judgment Right of Possession (CP-105) – Only use if more than 1 person living in the premises who is not listed as a tenant on the lease.

The Unlawful Detainer Complaint and Civil Case Cover Sheet must be submitted to the local superior (i.e. trial) court in the county where the rental property is located. After submitting these forms at the courthouse, the landlord will receive a copy of the stamped Unlawful Detainer Complaint, as well as a Summons that the landlord must serve to the tenant.

Step 5 – Serving the Tenant

The landlord must serve the tenant and any unnamed occupants with a copy of the Unlawful Detainer Complaint, the Summons, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Package, and the Pre-Judgement Right of Possession (if applicable). These documents cannot be posted on the documents door/property, they must be personally delivered or sent via a private process sever.

When the tenant has been served, file a Proof of Service (POS-010) at the courthouse. The tenant has 5 days to respond to the Summons.

If the tenant is to respond to the court filing they would use the Answer (UD-105).

Step 6 – Default Judgment

In most situations the tenant will not file the Answer within the 5 day time-frame. In such case, the landlord will be able to enter into a judgment immediately completing the following forms:

Request for Entry of Default (CIV-100)
Request for Dismissal (CIV-110)
Declaration re: Interest (MC-030)
Declaration in Support of Default Judgment (MC-030) and Attachment (MC-025) (if necessary)
Judgment (JUD-100)

and make three (3) copies of each.

The landlord must have someone over the age of eighteen (18) years old serve the tenant one (1) set of copies of these forms and complete two (2) copies of the Proof of Service (POS-030) and to return to the landlord.

Step 7 – File Default and Judgment

The landlord should file two (2) copies of the following documents:

Request for Entry of Default (CIV-100)
Request for Dismissal (CIV-110)
Declaration re: Interest (MC-030)
Declaration in Support of Default Judgment (MC-030) and Attachment (MC-025) (if necessary)
Judgment (JUD-100)
Proof of Service (POS-030)

Step 8 – Serve the Judgment

After the judge has signed the Judgment (JUD-100) the landlord will need to serve the document on the tenant with the Proof of Service (POS-030) once again. At this time the eviction has been concluded.

If the tenant does not leave the premises the landlord has the option of requesting a Writ of Possession (CD-100) from the court. This, along with a fee (between $125 to $175), will be forwarded to the local Sheriff who will post five (5) day notice to the tenant to leave the property or be forcible removed.