California Eviction: 3 Day Pay or Quit California Explained For Landlords

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It’s well known that every state has differences between their rules for both landlords and tenants, but keeping those rules straight can get confusing in no time. In fact, some states have rules so different than another that you might believe you’re misunderstanding them.

The 3 day pay or quit California law is one such stipulation that many people don’t understand when they first come across it. Is eviction really handled in as quick as three days? Do you have to do anything more than post a notice to make it happen?

While the 3 day notice to quit California rules are a bit faster than in other states, there are still some levels to how this rule works that you need to understand before you start believing your property will be vacated within three days.

Understanding this rule’s complexities will help you be a more efficient landlord in California.

A Table of Contents For 3 Day Pay or Quit in California

What Is 3 Day Pay or Quit?

The 3 day pay or quit is a specific type of eviction notice that is used in some states, including California. While the state does have the more common 30-day or 60-day style eviction notices for some situations, the 3-day notice is used more often than most landlords would want to believe.

If a tenant rightfully receives a 3 day pay or quit notice, they will have three days to pay up if rent is owed or to leave the property.

While some landlords might want to turn to this rule all the time, it can only be used in very specific cases.

When Can This Notice Be Used?

As mentioned, the 3 day pay or quit notice is not valid in all situations. The situations and lease between you and your tenant must have reached a certain point before this rule can be used.

A required 3-day notice must be used in the following cases only:

  • Owe rent
  • Broke a lease provision
  • Trash & debris building up on property
  • Risking health of others
  • Breaking laws on the property

If any of these things are happening on the property or has happened with the relevant lease, the landlord has the right to serve a 3-day eviction notice at any time.

When it comes to lease violations and similar issues, these topics must be classified as “curable” or “incurable” by the landlord. Curable problems are those that have a potential solution. If the tenant follows through with the solution, they can stay. With incurable problems, there is no potential solutions, so the tenant must leave.  

What If The Notice Doesn’t Apply

If you are in a situation that doesn’t fall under any of the 3-day rules, don’t worry. There still legal ways that you can go about evicting a tenant from the property.

If you are working with an expired lease and the tenant hasn’t lived there for more than one year, you can use a 30-day notice. If they have lived there for more than one year, however, you must use a 60-day to evict notice.

How to Serve A Notice

Serving an eviction notice to a tenant is not as simple as just sending it to them in the mail. Because it is possible that the mail could get lost, it is your responsibility as a landlord to ensure that the notice could not possibly be missed.

When serving a 3-day notice, be sure to at least do the following:

  • Deliver it personally to tenant
  • Give it to a reasonable subtenant
  • Mail it (pay for a certified receipt)
  • Serve it at their workplace

If for any reason it is not possible for you to carry out any of these methods, you can ensure that the tenant has a good enough chance to both see and address the notice by doing both of the following:

  • Attach it to the door in a very visible place
  • Mail a copy

Remember that the 3-day period does not start counting until the tenant has been confirmed to have received the notice.

If this is all too much for you to take on yourself, hire a professional process server!

Creating The Eviction Notice

If it is your first time dealing with a 3 day notice to quit California style eviction, you may still be feeling a bit confused or overwhelmed after learning all of this information. Thankfully, there are some forms available, which can help you to work through a California eviction with ease.

Over time, you may want to make adjustments for your specific situations, but starting with a base template from a reputable worker is a great way to initially learn any trade.

What’s on the notice?

Are you still curious about the specifics of this type of eviction notice?

We knew you would be, so we gathered up information about what is most commonly posted on a 3-day notice for California evictions:

  • Amount of rent owed & date it must be paid by
  • Leave provision that was violated & when it must be remedied by

Additionally, you must be sure that the grace period for rent has passed and that the notice is signed. Make it clear that should the tenant not follow one of the instructions given, an eviction suit will be filed

What Happens Next?

What will happen if the tenant doesn’t comply by paying rent or remedying any lease violations?

No landlord wants that situation to happen on one of their properties, but it is possible! If that happens, you will have to escalate the case to a full-blown eviction. These cases are handled quickly in California, especially if the tenant doesn’t respond to the suit.

If they don’t respond, a Writ of Possession can be executed by the local sheriff to regain the property. If they do respond, a trial will be scheduled within 20 days during which the eviction case will be settled and decided.


As you can see, California is a state that takes the stress of being a landlord in cases like these relatively seriously. The 3-day notice offers a quick solution to landlords who are trying to get paid rent or to fix lease violations quickly.

In other states, these eviction notices have to be much longer than the ones in California so it can be very frustrating for a landlord.

Here’s what you need to remember:

  • 3-day notices are only valid in certain situations
  • Specific information must be included on the notice
  • The case will need to be escalated to a court case should they not remedy any problems in the allotted 3-day period

Knowing everything that you can about the local laws when it comes to things like the 3 day notice to quit California rule is important for landlords who want to remain in control of their property, no matter who is staying on it!