Question: What type of notice is a landlord required to provide a tenant before terminating the tenancy?
Answer: Landlords are often confused about how much notice they need to provide tenants before terminating a lease, but it is important for every landlord to understand this area of the law to protect their legal rights. Failing to comply with notice requirements will prohibit a landlord from being successful in an unlawful detainer (eviction) lawsuit and may expose the landlord to additional liability.
In general, landlords are required to provide tenants with one of four types of notice: (1) No Notice, (2) Three-day Notice, (3) Thirty-day Notice, and (4) Sixty-day Notice. Landlords must also comply with specific procedural requirements that govern the notice’s required content and steps for delivery to the tenant.
No Notice | Landlords are not required to provide tenants with any notice at the end of a fixed term lease. A fixed term lease is a written or oral lease that expires on a fixed date. Most residential and commercial leases start as fixed term leases.
Three-day Notice | Landlords should issue a three-day notice if a tenant fails to comply with any of the lease terms. A three-day notice requires a tenant to comply with the lease terms within three days or vacate the property. For example, this type of notice may be used if a tenant fails to pay rent or if the tenant is using the property in an unauthorized manner.
Thirty-day Notice | A thirty-day notice to terminate tenancy is appropriate if a tenant does not have a fixed-term lease, as described above, and the tenant has lived in the property for less than one year. This type of tenancy is called a periodic tenancy because the rental period renews on a fixed schedule. The best example of a periodic tenancy is the common month-to-month lease.
Sixty-day Notice | Landlords should use a sixty-day notice if there is a periodic tenancy (e.g., a month-to-month rental agreement) and the tenant has lived in the property for more than one year.
California landlord-tenant laws can be difficult for new and experienced landlords to understand, and you should consult an attorney if you are not sure which type of notice you should use. An attorney will also be able to help you resolve special circumstances and answer your procedural questions.
Emil Dixon is the founder of the Davis Legal Center, a private law office located in Davis, California.