Good Questions: How to Fight a 3 Day Eviction Notice?

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Reader Nancy sent us this dire email about receiving noticed of a most harrowing of notices that some of us here at Apartment Therapy have dealt with: Dear Apartment Therapy, Is there a website to pull off any type of a form that is a response or a form to fill in a response to fight a 3 day eviction notice in Los Angeles? Any advice about how to fight eviction from your readership? I thank you in advance for your help and prompt response! - Nancy

Got a good question you'd like answered? Send your queries and a photo or two illustrating your question, and we'll see if the Apartment Therapy LA team or our readers can help answer your question.

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California rental laws stipulate that a landlord can use a written three-day notice if the tenant has done any of the following:

  • Failed to pay the rent.
  • Violated any provision of the lease or rental agreement.
  • Materially damaged the rental property ("committed waste").
  • Substantially interfered with other tenants ("committed a nuisance").
  • Used the rental property for an unlawful purpose, such as selling illegal drugs.

This notice must state precisely the premises in question and the amount of rent due. The law also states that the three-day notice must include instructions on how to pay the rent: address, person, the time the owner can receive the rent and the accepted form of payment (check, money order, etc.). The notice must also present an unequivocal alternative to the tenant, i.e., pay rent within three days or leave.

In situations where some other obligation has been breached, e.g., keeping pets, the landlord must specify the fault and permit its correction within three days. The landlord must serve this notice on the tenant before he can bring suit (unless the tenant's default is of a kind that could not possibly be corrected within the allowed time, for example, he has done something to the building which cannot be repaired.) A Three-Day Notice expires at midnight of the third day after service, provided that the third day is a business day. Otherwise, it expires at midnight of the first business day following the third day after service. You do not count the day of service. Therefore, a Three-Day Notice served on a Friday will expire at midnight on the following Monday (unless that Monday is a holiday, in which case the notice will expire at midnight on Tuesday).

A Three-Day Notice served on Wednesday will also expire at midnight on the following Monday, because the third day may not be a Saturday or Sunday. A Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit is not valid if served before the rent is delinquent. Therefore, it may not be served on the due date, only after the due date. If the due date does not fall on a business day, then the rent is not due until the first business day following the due date and a Three-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit may not be served until the day after that. If the obligation demanded has not been corrected within three days after the notice was served, the landlord can then file suit in court to have the tenant evicted.

We recommend you seek legal council specializing in renter's rights for your specific case (since you did not provide exact details of the grounds upon eviction was set forth). Also a copy of the California Tenants' Rights may help guide you in a proper response to the eviction notice, alongside contacting the City of L.A. office handling landlord/tenant issues (Public Information Hotline at (866) 557-RENT, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.).

Has anyone else out there faced, fought and won a 3 Day Eviction Notice in Los Angeles?