The 3-day notice to pay rent or quit requires the tenant who has not paid rent to pay rent or move (quit) within three days.
- If the tenant pays rent within the three-day period, the tenancy continues.
- If the tenant does not pay rent within three days, the landlord may bring an eviction lawsuit.
A three-day notice is a tool designed to get tenants to pay rent, not to evict them. However, if it leads to an eviction and the notice contains certain errors, you will lose an eviction lawsuit, perhaps having to pay the tenant’s attorneys’ fees. Do not demand anything other than past-due rent in a three-day notice. Do not include late charges, fees of any kind, interest, utility charges, or anything else in a three-day notice— even if a written lease or rental agreement says you’re entitled to payment for such items. You can deduct these amounts from the security deposit or sue for them later in small claims court. If you just demand the rent and do not set out the alternative of the tenant’s leaving, your notice is fatally defective. If the three-day notice demands the wrong amount, it does not legally terminate the tenancy. The notice must also include a statement that you will pursue legal action (or declare the lease or rental agreement “forfeited”) if the tenant does not pay the entire rent or move.
Example 3-Day Notice
- Three Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit (Nolo) RTF Format
Whom to Serve
You should try to serve a copy of the notice on each tenant to whom you originally rented the property. However, service of the notice on one of several cotenants who are listed together on a written lease or rental agreement is legally sufficient.
Be sure to make several copies for your records.
- Give the original to the tenant
- Keep the copies for yourself
Proof of Service Box
Complete the proof of service box on your copy of the notice. You do not fill out the Proof of Service on the original notice that is given to the tenant. Save the filled-out Proof(s) of Service on the copies of the notice— you’ll need these to prove that you served the notice if you end up filing an eviction lawsuit.
Who Should Serve the Notice?
Anyone over the age of 18, including yourself, can legally give or serve the three-day notice on the tenant. However, if you have to bring an eviction lawsuit against the tenant, that person may have to come to court to testify that he or she gave the tenant the notice, so make sure you pick someone who will be available.
How to Serve the Notice
You or anyone you designate age 18 or over may hand the notice to the tenant or any one of the tenants named on the notice on behalf of all tenants. If the tenant does not accept the notice, you can leave it down by the tenant’s feet and walk away.
Counting the Three Days After Service
To count the 3 days, do the following:
- Ignore the date of service and start counting on the next day.
- Count three days.
- If the third day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, ignore that day and move on to the next business day.
When the Tenant Offers Partial Payment
If you accept rent (even a partial payment) after the three-day period, you waive your right to evict for the late payment.
The only way to evict a month-to-month tenant who never pays until threatened with a three-day notice is to terminate the tenancy with a 30-day notice.