Understanding The 3-Day Eviction Process

If a tenant is paying late or does not pay rent, a landlord typically serves a 3-day notice to get him to pay. A notice should be in writing and should be formally served with a warning that an eviction action in court will ensue if the tenant doesn’t pay. A landlord cannot make a tenant move out without first getting an eviction order, but that requires permission from the court.

The 3-Day Notice is later used in the eviction lawsuit and combined with the complaint filed in court that is called the unlawful detainer, which asks the court to evict. A written 3 Day Notice served on a tenant is a requirement for filing an eviction. The Notice is combined with the unlawful detainer complaint to indicate to the court that the tenant was notified, in writing, that rent was due and the lawfully needed time of three days was given to comply. To bring an unlawful detainer case, the landlord needs to show that the tenant was aware and formally notified, but did not comply with the three-day notice.

A 3-Day Notice Needn’t Be Filed In Court Before it is Served

Frequently, tenants served a three-day notice ask why the Notice is not court-stamped and filed with the court. Some people think a notice should first be filed with the court before it is served on a tenant. This is a common misconception. For any form of eviction, Notice need not be filed in court before it is served.

The Notice only need be in writing and properly served on the tenant. The requirement is that a landlord should serve a written notice before filing an eviction case. Legal service of the Notice is a legal requirement for filing an eviction lawsuit. Later, the 3-day Notice is combined with the unlawful detainer complaint, which is filed with the court, as proof that it had been given in writing. Evidence of it being legally served on the tenant must be provided in the complaint. A landlord cannot prevail in an eviction case if written notice is not first served.

In short, a written 3-day notice should be served on a tenant before initiating an eviction suit. The tenant should be notified, in writing, that there is a default in rent and should be given a minimum of three days to comply with the Notice.

To recap, a three-day notice must:

  • Be in writing;
  • Indicate a default in rent;
  • Indicate the amount of time in default;
  • Require payment or possession of the property;
  • Provide a minimum of 3 days’ notice;
  • Be served on a tenant

What Happens if a Tenant Gets A 3-Day Eviction Notice?

Once a written notice for a 3-day period to pay rent or quit is served, the three-day timeframe starts. If a tenant plans to move out, it should be done before the expiration of the three days. Otherwise, the landlord may legally proceed with an unlawful detainer action in court to force eviction. Throughout the three-day notice period, a landlord is supposed to accept no payment except the complete quantity of rent in default. However, the landlord should settle for payment if it is the whole quantity in default.

After the three days have terminated, a landlord is not supposed to accept any money and might want to evict the tenant. At this time, it is up to the landlord to choose whether to accept payment or file an eviction. If the tenant is unable to comply with the Notice (either pay rent fully or move out), and the landlord later files an eviction, the tenant can expect to be served a complaint and summons to go to court.

A landlord who serves a 3-day eviction notice, however, cannot “evict” a tenant in 3 days. Here, the word evict means removal. A landlord cannot force out a tenant once the three days’ notice is served. Law enforcement, usually county sheriff’s deputies, is the only party authorized to act on orders from the court to lawfully remove a tenant from a property. The only way a landlord can get the authority to request the sheriff to move out a tenant is by filing an unlawful detainer and getting a court judgment for possession of the property.

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