Do You Know Your Rights As a Renter?

Did you know? You can download this file as a PDF in ENGLISH and SPANISH.

 

Before a landlord can evict you from a rental unit, the landlord must follow a legal process. In most situations, the eviction process begins with a notice. If the landlord attempts to have you removed from the unit without going through the legal process, or if you are served with an eviction lawsuit without first being served with a notice, you may contact our offices for legal advice. 

 

There are several types of notices your landlord can give (serve) you. For each notice, once the specified time expires (3-days, 30-days, 60-days or 90-days), if you have not complied with the notice then the landlord can sue you in Court with an eviction lawsuit, called an Unlawful Detainer. Different rules may apply if you are in subsidize housing (Section 8 Voucher) or live in a mobile home park. Here are some common examples:

3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit

Landlords use this notice when the tenant is behind on the rent. The notice must be in writing and include the following:

  • The full name of the tenant(s), their address and date of the notice;
  • A demand for no more than the amount of rent the tenant owes and it must be served after the stated amount becomes due; 
  • A clear statement that the tenant has 3 days to EITHER pay all the rent that is currently due or Quit (meaning get out of the rental unit); and
  • The name, telephone number and address of the person to whom the rent payment shall be made. If payment will be made in person, the notice must also include the hours of availability that payment may be received. 

3-Day Notice to Perform Covenants or Quit

Landlords use this notice when the tenant is breaking the lease/rental agreement and the problem can be fixed. For example, if the tenant is renting the unit to another person or allowing others to move in, not keeping the unit clean or is in violation of the agreement, the notice must ask the tenant to correct the violation within 3 days or move out. The notice must be in writing and include the following:

  • The full name of the tenant(s), their address and date of the notice;
  • Clear and specific details describing exactly what the tenant did to break the lease; and
  • Tell the tenant(s) that the problem must be fixed or the tenant(s) must move out in 3 days. 

3-Day Notice to Quit

This notice is used if there are ongoing problems with the tenant who causes or allows a "nuisance" on the property, uses the property to do something illegal (like sell drugs), threatens the health and safety of other tenants or the general public, or commits waste that lowers the value of the property significantly. The notice must be in writing and include the following:

  • The full name of the tenant(s), their address and date of the notice; and 
  • A clear and specific description of everything the tenant did to break the lease or deserve the 3-day notice to leave (including details and dates), and a clear statement explaining that the tenant has to move out within those 3 days, otherwise, a lawsuit will follow.

30 or 60-Day Notice to Quit or to Terminate Tenancy

A landlord can use a 30-day notice to end a month-to-month tenancy if the tenant has been renting that particular unit, for less than a year. A landlord must use a 60-day notice to end a month-to-month tenancy, if the tenant has been renting for more than one year and the landlord wants the tenant to move out. The notice must be in writing and include the following:

  • The full name of the tenant(s), their address and date of the notice;
  • State that the month-to-month tenancy will end in 30 days if the landlord is giving a 30-day notice or in 60 days if s/he is giving a 60-day notice. 

Landlords generally do NOT need to state a reason for giving this notice. The 30 or 60-day notice to Terminate Tenancy may be served for any reason or no reason at all except that tenants are protected against “retaliatory evictions” or “discriminatory evictions.” If you believe that you are being evicted in retaliation or discrimination, you should seek legal advice. You are still required to pay rent during the notice period.

90-Day Notice to Quit or to Terminate Tenancy Section 8:

A landlord must use this kind of notice if:

  • Tenant is receiving assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher (also known as Section 8),
  • Tenancy is within 90 days of the end of the first year or past the first year and is now on a month-to-month basis,
  • If those two requirements are met, the landlord does NOT have to give reason to terminate the tenancy, and
  • Notice must be dated and state tenant has 90 days to move out.

Short notices may be appropriate if there is good cause for eviction. If you receive a short notice you should seek legal advice. 

There are also other types of notices that your landlord can serve you such as: 24-hour notice, 5-day notice, 7-day notice, 10-day notice, 14-day notice, etc. The Court can serve you notices as well, such as, Notice of Restricted Access; Notice of Trial Date; Notice of Entry of Judgment, etc. For further information, please visit the California Courts Self-Help Center at: www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/.

If you receive any notice from your landlord or the Court that you do not understand, you can call our offices located in Fresno (559) 570-1200, Visalia (559) 733-8770, Merced (209) 723-5466 for free legal advice.