Counsel, Advocacy & Representation for California Tenants

Notice to Terminate tenancy

California Law Requires Just Cause to Terminate Certain Residential Tenancies

The information provided on this page was published before the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 was enacted into law, and therefore does not discuss the California Statewide just cause protections.

To learn more about how the Tenant Protection Act of 2019 will further protect many tenants after January 1, 2020, click on the link below.  

If the rental property you live in is not covered by the just cause requirements in Civil Code §1946.2, the the information on this page will still be the applicable law.

Only Written notice of termination is valid in California

Receiving notice that the landlord or management wants you to move is almost always unexpected and unwelcome news, but there is no need to despair.  Although you may not be the owner of the house or apartment you live in, the law in California protects tenants facing termination of their residential tenancy in a variety of ways.  Landlords cannot simply ask or demand that you move without first giving you the written notice required by law.

The notice must be in writing.  Telephone calls, verbal notices given in person, emails and text messages do not count.

  • The notice should be delivered to the residence personally.

  • If the tenant is not home, the notice can be left with an adult member of the household, or posted on the door.  If the notice is posted, then it must be later sent to the address in the mail.

the Length of the notice required will depend upon the length of tenancy

Depending upon how long you have lived at the residence, the landlord must give you either 30 or 60 days notice before terminating your tenancy. For tenants who have lived at a property for less than a year, landlords are only required to give 30 days’ notice to terminate.

  • However, if your landlord is demanding that you pay rent, then the notice must state that you have 3 days to pay the amount owed.

  • If you have received a notice to pay rent or quit, then click here.

In certain cases, the landlord may be required to give more time, or comply with other requirements.

Acting Quickly in response to a notice can save you money and stress

Ignoring the notice may result in eviction, however, acting without first knowing your rights in the situation can also cost you dearly.  Tenants facing termination of their tenancy need to take the situation in hand right away, but you should do it calmly and intelligently.  

Most of the problems that tenants face when they receive a notice to terminate result from waiting too long to find out about their available options.

If you have received written notice from your landlord, or property manager, then don’t make any decisions until you have spoken with a lawyer. Every case is different depending upon the individual facts, and whatever the specific situation may be, you do have rights to assert.

Before taking any action, contact us to make an appointment to speak with an attorney experienced in landlord tenant law.

We will discuss your rights, and the options that you have to respond. If you need to assert your rights, then we can also speak on your behalf. Acting without all the relevant information about your tenant rights can lead to negative consequences and worsen a difficult situation.

Speaking with an attorney will help you to explore your available options, and avoid eviction. Even if your landlord has only made threats to evict and has not yet given any written notice, you are welcome to call to discuss your situation and learn about your tenant rights.

The information on this page does not constitute legal advice, nor is it applicable to commercial tenancies.  If you would like to obtain legal advice concerning your situation, then please send an email to in order to set an appointment with an attorney.

Get legal counsel to discuss any notice to terminate you receive

Contact Us

If you are still uncertain whether you need an attorney, fill out the form below in order to explain your situation, and we will reply to you.


Get Representation

If you have a situation that is more than a question, and are already having a dispute with your landlord, then information alone is often not enough to settle the matter to your advantage. What most renters need, but seldom have, is an attorney who knows the law, and the landlord’s duties under the law, and is not afraid to advocate for tenants.

Even the most informed tenants can find the court system overwhelming.  Defending against eviction on your own is more than just challenging.  Fort the unprepared and unrepresented it is an ordeal filled with traps.  Tenants who go to court without an attorney frequently enter into bad agreements and suffer humiliation at the hands of the landlord’s lawyers. Having an experienced attorney on your side will make a difference.

Get Informed

If your situation is not a lawsuit in court, but rather a question, or a curiosity about what the law says, there are many places where you can find educational materials, and  every tenant should become familiar with the legal protections for tenants in California law.

Many times the answer to tenants’ legal questions are more complicated than they may first appear.  It’s important to be careful, and not to rely upon every piece of information posted online, or simply accept the advice of friends and neighbors.  Make sure the source of your legal advice is reliable and up to date.

Look around the website and see if we have information to help you.  If you have a question and you can’t find an answer,  click here to send us a comment.  An attorney that specializes in advocating for tenants will reply, and can direct you to the resources you need. 

Don't go to Trial unprepared

Written notices demanding the payment of rent, notices that threaten the termination of your lease, accusations of illegal activity, and notices of changes in terms and conditions of a lease from a landlord or property manager are often the prelude to legal action.  They must be taken seriously.  It is critical for tenants to respond to notice from a landlord intelligently and prudently.

Before you agree to excessive rent increases, or allow the oppressive actions of the owner or management intimidate you, meet with a professional.

Information, early in time, is the key to success.  Often times becoming informed can help you to avoid being on defense.  If you are not able to avoid litigation, then consult with an attorney who stands with tenants and defends their rights.

Don't Waste Time

When a tenant has a legal conflict with the landlord, there is often only a short period of time to act.  Under California law, landlords are usually required to give notice to tenants before they resort to legal action. However, most of these legally required notices give a tenant only three days to act.  When a tenant fails to act within the three days then the landlord can proceed to court.

Once an action to evict (also called unlawful detainer) is filed against a tenant in court, it can move very quickly.   Landlords enjoy a unique legal procedure, which is known as a summary proceeding.   Once a tenant is sued in court, and then served with an unlawful detainer summons, then he or she has only five days to respond.

If your landlord has sued you or is threatening to sue you, then you must act quickly. Hesitation and uncertainty can lead to a loss of money, loss of security and the loss of your home. Don’t wait.  Schedule an appointment for a consultation  immediately to discuss your case.