A landlord should write an eviction notice that fits the reason for the eviction. The two basic types of eviction include eviction for failure to pay rent on time and eviction for failure to abide by the terms of the rental or lease agreement. Typically, a landlord can also start the eviction process for a tenant who stays after the lease has ended, or for no reason, if the landlord cancels the rental agreement by giving the tenant proper notice. A landlord cannot evict a tenant for an illegal reason, such as racial discrimination or in retaliation, such as to get back at a tenant for filing a complaint that the front door is broken.
Basics for a Notice of Eviction
A formal eviction notice must be in writing. It should state the full name of the tenant or tenants and the address of the rental property. It should provide how much rent the tenant owes. Further, the eviction notice should contain the dates for which the tenant owes rent if there has been a non-payment of rent.
An eviction letter should state the days and times the tenant can pay the late rent they owe and the address where they should pay it. If the tenant can pay the back rent by mail, the letter should provide the address to which they can send the money. The letter of eviction should also state when the rent must be paid in full after receiving the notice or when the tenant must move out. The letter should follow state laws and be clear and concise.
Different Types of Eviction Notices
States allow landlords to give different types of eviction notices. A landlord should review their state’s rules on the various types of tenancies to understand how to write a notice tailored to their specific tenancy. For example, California offers landlords a choice of a three-day notice to pay rent or quit; a three-day notice to perform covenants or quit; a three-day notice to quit; a 30-day notice to quit; a 60-day notice to quit; and a 90-day notice to quit.
For a three-day notice to pay rent or quit, the notice should say that the rent must be paid in full within three days of receipt of the notice or the tenant must move out. A landlord cannot count Saturdays, Sundays or court holidays when counting three days.
When this type of notice provides how much rent the tenant owes, it cannot go back more than one year. This is true even if the tenant owes back rent for a longer amount of time. The letter should not include other money the tenant owes, such as late fees, interest, utilities or damages.
For a three-day notice to perform covenants or quit, the notice should state in what way the tenant is violating the rental agreement. The notice should ask the tenant to correct the violation within the three day notice period or move out. Examples of violation of a rental agreement include moving in a guest without permission or making noise past a stated quiet time. A landlord cannot count Saturdays, Sundays or court holidays as part of the three days.
Set Out Details of Nuisance Caused by Tenant
For a three-day notice to quit, the notice should state how the tenant has caused or allowed a nuisance on the property. A nuisance is defined as anything that is injurious to health, indecent or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of the property. Examples include illegally selling controlled substances or blocking exits and entrances to the property.
The notice must state all the actions the tenant took in violation of the lease or why they deserve a three-day notice to leave. The notice should include details and dates and state clearly that the renter must move out once the three days are up.
30-Day, 60-Day and 90-Day Notices
A landlord should use a 30-day eviction notice to end a month-to-month tenancy that has existed for less than a year. A 30-day notice should say that the month-to-month tenancy will end in 30 days. A landlord should use a 60-day notice to end a tenancy that has existed for one year or more. A 60-day notice should say the tenancy will end in 60 days.
In a rent-controlled city, such as Beverly Hills, a landlord cannot cancel a month-to-month tenancy for just any reason. The city may allow a landlord to evict the tenant only for reasons specified in the city’s municipal ordinances. For example, Beverly Hills allows a landlord to evict a tenant for failure to pay rent, violations of obligations and maintenance of nuisances.
A landlord is required to use a 90-day notice if the tenant is in subsidized housing, also known as Section 8 housing. For such an eviction, the landlord must state why they are asking the tenant to move out. They must also have just cause to ask the tenant to leave.
Tenant Eviction Notice Template
A 60-day notice to end a tenancy should read as follows:
"60-day Notice to Vacate" with space for the date of the notice and the tenant’s full name and street address. There should also be a statement that the landlord has chosen to end the tenant’s tenancy at the specified address and on the specified date. The notice should state that the delivery date is 60 days from the next payment date.
The notice should state the full amount of rent owed, the dates for which rent is overdue, and the address to which the tenant can submit the payment. Next, the notice should provide space for the full name and title of the party completing the notice.
The landlord should sign and date the notice. The landlord does not have to provide a reason for this type of termination. There should be a section at the bottom of the notice with information about the service of the notice.
Other Information to Add to a 60-Day Notice
The 60-day notice can also include nonessential information, such as a reminder that if the tenant fails to vacate the property, the landlord may start eviction proceedings to recover possession of the property. The notice can further include information about how the landlord will return the security deposit and what charges the landlord may deduct from the security deposit, such as costs to clean the premises. It may be a good idea to also include a statement that the landlord can show the leased premises to prospective tenants by giving the current tenant written notice 24 hours before the entry.
- California Courts: Eviction
- California Courts: Eviction Notices
- California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1946: Hiring of Real Property
- California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1946.1: Hiring of Real Property
- California Civil Code Section 3749: Nuisance
- City of Beverly Hills: Chapter 6, Rent stabilization, Part II
- University of California, Santa Cruz Community Rentals: 60-day notice to vacate, for use by residential landlord
- Keep the tone of the eviction notice professional.
- Do not voice personal issues or concerns in the eviction notice. Do not use preaching language or threats in any way.
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.