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Eviction Threat But No Official Notice
What to Do After an Eviction Threat with No Official Notice
Your landlord cannot evict you by giving you an eviction threat without official notice. This means they need to provide you with adequate written notice in accordance with state law. If you do not move out or resolve the issue that triggered the eviction notice, your landlord can launch a lawsuit to evict you. To win his case, the landlord must prove that he did something wrong that warrants terminating the tenancy.
So, if you are facing eviction in the San Francisco Bay area, you may have a defense to the eviction if your landlord did not properly serve or deliver the written eviction notice to you or if your landlord did not give proper notice of eviction before filing a court action. The court would most likely dismiss the eviction case, and your landlord would have to restart the eviction process, starting with a 3-day notice to you. A San Francisco eviction defense lawyer can help you decide the best strategy to protect your rights as a tenant.
Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners, P.C.’s San Francisco wrongful eviction lawyers, provide a number of conflict resolution options for resolving landlord-tenant legal disputes, including mediation, negotiation, and litigation. Call us immediately to book a consultation with our San Francisco landlord-tenant attorney, or email us a message.
Eviction Notice: What is it?
There are different names for an eviction notice, such as Notice to Vacate, Notice to Terminate Tenancy, Notice to Quit, Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, or Notice to Cure or Quit. The eviction notice has to be delivered to the tenant according to California law to be legally effective.
All eviction notifications should be in written form and include the following information, where applicable:
- The eviction notice must specify the just cause for evicting, which should be the landlord’s primary motive. The grounds for “just cause” for eviction are found in Rent Ordinance No 37.9(a).
- If an eviction is among the “just cause” grounds listed below, the landlord needs to first give a warning notice in written form to the tenant explaining their alleged violation as well as notify their tenant that failure to fix a violation within the period of 10 days could result in an eviction proceeding:
- failing to comply with the tenancy’s material terms;
- allowing or committing a serious, continuing, or recurring nuisance;
- using or allowing the rental unit’s use for illegal purposes;
- refusing to make an extension or lease renewal in writing under similar terms as previously existed; and
- denying access to their rental unit for their landlord, a requirement by California or county law.
On the other hand, the warning period of 10 days is not necessary if the tenant poses a serious and immediate risk of property damage or injury. Under the California Code of Civil Procedure 1161, the written warning notice must precede, not replace, a formal eviction notice, and any extra “cure” time needed by California law needs to be issued on top of the warning period of 10 days.
- The eviction notice must include a copy of Form 1007 of the Rent Board. This form is provided in the Rent Board website’s Forms Center.
- Within ten days of the notice being served on the tenant, a copy of the notice of eviction and any supplementary papers affixed to the notice must be submitted to the Rent Board. However, three-day eviction notifications based on unpaid rent need not be submitted to the Rent Board.
- The notice of eviction needs to include the lawful rent of the rental unit during the time that the notice is sent if among the “just cause” listed in 37.9(a) is the reason for the eviction:
- owner/relative move-in;
- a condominium sale according to a condominium conversion authorized by the San Francisco subdivision ordinance;
- permanent removal/demolition of the rental unit from housing use;
- temporary eviction to do rehabilitation work or capital improvement; or,
- temporary eviction to do abatement work/lead remediation required by Articles 11 or 26 of the San Francisco Health Code.
- If the eviction notice is based on any of these “just cause” reasons, the landlord is obligated under Rent Ordinance Section 37.9C to provide written notice to all tenants of the rental unit of their right to relocation payments:
- owner/relative move-in;
- the sale of a condominium according to a condominium conversion allowed by the San Francisco subdivision ordinance;
- permanent removal/demolition of the rental unit from housing use;
- temporary eviction to execute rehabilitation work or capital improvement; or
- substantial rehabilitation. The notification must also include a copy of Section 37.9C addressing relocation compensation.
- If the tenant faces eviction under the Ellis Act Section 37.9(a)(13), the eviction notice should contain written notification of the tenant’s right to relocation compensation under Section 37.9A of the Rent Ordinance.
The Rent Ordinance requires relocation fees only for “just cause” grounds listed above.
Please remember that this isn’t a comprehensive list of requirements for an eviction notice. Additional municipal and/or California state law requirements regarding eviction notifications might not be addressed here. For instance, there are more rules for eviction notices based on owner/relative move-in, notices based on the permanent removal or demolition of a housing unit, and notices to vacate because the landlord needs to do major repairs or renovations. Landlords should exercise care and obtain legal counsel on the drafting and serving a lawful eviction notice.
California’s Eviction Process
When evicting a tenant in California, a landlord must strictly follow procedures. The first thing to do is to terminate the tenancy with written notice, which should be done immediately before the landlord initiates an eviction lawsuit (also known as an “unlawful detainer”). The kind of notice needed is determined by the grounds for the landlord’s termination of the tenancy. And further complicating the process of eviction, the 2019 California Tenant Protection Act provides additional tenant protections to Californians who have lived in a rental for at least 12 months. Here’s a rundown of California’s laws and procedures for evicting renters.
When the Landlord Has Cause to Terminate a California Tenancy
A landlord may evict a tenant for a number of reasons, such as failing to pay rent, breaking the rental or lease agreement, or engaging in illegal activities. The landlord must provide the tenant with written notice to terminate the tenancy. The cause of the termination will determine the kind of notice required.
- Notice for non-payment of rent. When a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord may issue a 3-day notification to pay rent or vacate (move out). The renter is given three days to pay the entire rent or vacate the premises. If the tenant vacates before the three-day notice period has elapsed, the landlord may use the security deposit to settle any outstanding rent and file a lawsuit against the tenant for any payments owed in excess of their security deposit. If the tenant does not pay the rent and does not vacate within three days, the landlord may initiate an eviction case. (See California Civil Procedure Code Section 1161(2) (2022))
- Notice of lease violation with a remedy: If a tenant breaks the rental or lease agreement in such a manner that is fixable (for instance, keeping a pet even if a policy that does not allow pets is in place), the landlord may issue a 3-day notice to cure (referred to also as “Three-Day Notice to Perform Covenant or Quit”). The notice informs that the tenant has three days to fix the violation or vacate the premises. If the premises is tenant vacated within three days, eviction action cannot be filed by the landlord, but the landlord may sue the (previous) tenant for unpaid rent or any damages to the property that exceeds the amount of the security deposit. If the tenant does not rectify the violation and vacate within three days, the landlord may initiate an eviction case. (California Civil Procedure Code 1161(3) (2022).)
- Grave, irreparable lease violations: If a tenant seriously violates the lease or does something that cannot be fixed, the landlord may issue the tenant an unconditional 3-day notice to vacate. The notice advises the tenant that the unit must be vacated within three days of the notice being received. The tenant is not given any opportunity to correct the violation. Furthermore, the landlord may initiate an eviction case if the tenant does not vacate the premises within three days. Landlords in California can employ three-day unconditional quit notices only if a tenant has:
- violated the terms of the rental or lease agreement by assigning or subletting the rental unit
- caused significant property damage
- allowed or caused a disturbance at the rental unit, or
- been engaged in criminal activities on the rented premises.
(California Civil Procedure Code 1161(4) (2022).) (Landlords may also utilize a 3-day unconditional notice to leave if a tenant subject to the Act refuses to respond to a 3-day notice to quit or cure a lease violation that can be remedied.)
When the Landlord Does Not Have Cause to Terminate a California Tenancy
The laws for terminating a lease without cause vary based on whether the lease is on a monthly or fixed term.
Tenancy on a monthly basis
If a renter has a monthly lease and has resided in the rental unit for less than a year, the landlord must provide the tenant with a written 30-day notice to terminate the tenancy. The landlord does not need to provide a cause for the termination. However, the lease must not be terminated for discriminatory reasons. (California Civil Code Section 1946.1 (2022).)
If the tenant has been living in the rental unit for more than a year and is on a month-to-month basis, the landlord must provide the tenant with a written 60-day notice to terminate the tenancy. (California Civil Code Section 1946.1 (2022).)
Both notices must advise the tenant that the tenancy will terminate at the end of the notice period and that the tenant must vacate the rented unit by that time.
For longer-term tenancies beyond month-to-month, the landlord cannot terminate the tenancy without cause until the completion of the term. Unless the lease states otherwise, the landlord is not required to give the tenant notice to vacate at the end of the term. For example, if the tenant has a year-long lease that ends at the end of December and has not sought a lease extension, the landlord is not required to provide notice to the tenant to move out by the end of December unless the contract expressly states otherwise.
When a Fixed-Term Tenancy is Terminated After the Tenant Has Lived in the Rental Property for 12 Months
The only time a landlord doesn’t have to give a tenant notice before the end of a fixed-term lease is if the tenant has lived there for a year. In this case, the landlord cannot refuse the lease renewal without cause.
If the landlord’s cause for not renewing the lease is “at-fault,” the landlord must provide the following:
- a 3-day notice to pay past due rent or vacate if the at-fault cause is nonpayment of rent
- a 3-day notice to cure or leave if the at-fault cause is a curable violation (like harboring an unauthorized roommate), or
- a 3-day unconditional notice to leave if the cause is a noncurable, grave violation (such as committing or maintaining a public nuisance).
(California Civil Procedure Code 1161; California Civil Procedure Code 1946.2 (2022).)
If the at-fault cause is a curable breach, the landlord must give a 3-day unconditional notice to leave before filing an eviction case if the tenant does not fix the violation or move out after receiving the 3-day notice to cure or quit. (California Civil Code 1946.2(c) (2022).)
If the landlord’s reason for not renewing the lease is a “no-fault” issue, the landlord is required under the Act to compensate the tenant. (California Civil Code 1946.2 (2022).)
Let Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners, P.C. Help You
If you have received an eviction threat but no official notice from your landlord, you may be uncertain about where to start. It will be difficult for someone who does not work in the legal system to find the law that supports your position.
A tenant law attorney can help you navigate the intricate rules and regulations and build your case.
If you want legal assistance for an ongoing conflict or for advice on an eviction threat, the law office of Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners P.C. can help. Call us immediately or set up an appointment to talk with our wrongful eviction attorney as soon as possible.
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