We all want to fulfill our obligations, and paying rent on time is always a priority for every tenant. When a tenant cannot pay the rent on time, there is almost always a reason why. Sometimes financial difficulties or emergencies intervene and the rent money is just not available. Other times the tenant may have a legitimate reason why rent is being withheld such as unacceptable conditions at the property that breach the warranty of habitability.There are many other times, however, when the landlord serves a notice in error.
For instance, by posting the notice even after the rent has already been paid, or the notice demanding rent is asking for more money than is actually owed, or perhaps the landlord made an agreement too accept the rent by a certain date, only to turn around and make a written demand for payment anyway. In California, if an landlord wants to demand the rent from his tenant, then he must make the request with a written notice. The law requires that the form and content of those notices follow very specific rules.
- The notice must state the actual amount of rent owed. It cannot include late fees or other charges.
- The tenant must be given an opportunity of at least three days to pay the rent.
- The notice must explain how and where the rent can be paid and the contact information for the person who will accept the payment.
- The notice must have a date and accurately describe the tenant’s address.
- The landlord must make an attempt to give the notice to a resident personally. If no adult is available to receive the notice, then the notice must by posted on the property in plain view and also sent through the mail.
In order to give you the right advice for your situation, we need to know the facts of your specific case.
Every situation is different, and the advice that applies to one person’s circumstance could be wrong for someone else. That’s why we recommend that if you have received a written notice demanding that you pay the rent, call us immediately. Even if your landlord or property manager told you that the notice is just a formality and not to worry, you need to be aware that serving the notice is the beginning of a legal procedure, and you could very well end up in court if you don’t act prudently.
If you aren’t sure about scheduling an appointment to talk about your rights, feel free to tell us about your situation, so we can learn the details of what happened. If necessary, we can schedule a meeting in our office to review the notice, and discuss your options. If we cannot help, then maybe we can guide you to other sources of information and resources.