The “3-Day Pay or Quit”


– Understanding the “3 Day Pay or Quit” Eviction Notice –



3 Day Pay or Quit Notice

why is the eviction Notice important?


Generally, eviction cases involve a small number of clear-cut issues – whether a 3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit (“3-Day Notice”) is drafted properly is one of them.  In California, state law requires that 3-Day Notices include certain elements, or else they are legally defective.  A legally defective Notice could invalidate an eviction lawsuit (at any time) and a landlord could be deemed the losing party.  If this occurs, the landlord could owe the tenant(s) court and attorney fees, and then would have to re-start the eviction process with a new and valid 3-Day Notice, losing both money and time.


So, a properly drafted 3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit is essential.


How do I write a proper “3 day Pay or Quit” eviction Notice?


In California, a properly drafted 3-day notice has to include the following elements: (C.C.P. § 1161(2))


  • Name(s) – The name(s) of the tenant(s) named on the lease.
    • It is good practice to also include all known adults living on the premises, even if not named on the lease excluding minors (courts frown upon suing minors).

  • Address – Address of the rental premises

  • Rent Due – Exact Rent Due and Date and when missed rent payment became due.

    • Special attention must be made to the rent past due. Only demand rent due and do not include fees, like late fees.  If the amount demanded is even $5.96 overstated, the courts have ruled this impermissible (see Nurafchan v. Miner)
  • Contact Information – Name, Phone Number, and Address of the landlord or agent to whom rent is due
  • Payment – List the Method of Payment acceptable:
    • If in person – Include the time and place where payment can be made
    • If electronically – only if previously established
    • If through a financial institution – include the bank’s name (must be within 5 miles of the property), address, and phone number.
    • If mailed – presumed sent on date mailed (if tenant can show proof)
  • Must State the Alternative – State the Alternative to Pay – Must include the words “Pay or Quit”
  • COVID-19 Disclosures (ended March 31, 2022)
  • Local Disclosures (If Necessary)


anything else included in 3 day Pay or Quit eviction Notice?


It is also good practice to include a Forfeiture Clause in the notice. The Clause should read, “The Landlord elects at this time to declare a forfeiture of the tenancy under which you occupy said premises if you fail to pay the rent in full by the date specified in this notice.”  If this clause is included, the courts cannot give the tenant(s) a “last chance” stay under C.C.P. §1174(c).


Check for any local rent control laws, like in the cities of San Jose, Campbell, Los Gatos, and Mountain View. Some municipalities may require arbitration, mediation, or other administrative procedures before an unlawful detainer action can be filed.


covid-19 disclosures involved in an eviction notice?


Landlords are required to include COVID-19 disclosures when sending 3-day notices.  Depending on when the rent was past due, and if the landlord is suing based on that past rent due, there may be more than one disclosure required.

In addition to notice requirement of C.C.P. §1179.04(c)(4), if the landlord is evicting based on rent due during the: 


Please note that the laws enacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic prohibit evictions based on rent due during the following periods, if:

  • Protected Period – If the tenant returned a “declaration of COVID-19 related financial distress” within 15 days of receiving notice, the tenant can never be evicted for failure to pay rent during this period. **
  • Transition Period – If the tenant paid 25% of the total rent due during this period by September 1, 2021, the tenant can never be evicted for failure to pay rent during this period. **
  • “Final” Period – The landlord must certify, under penalty of perjury, that he or she applied for government assistance for or on behalf of the tenant and was denied (written denial required) OR has applied but have not heard back for at least 20 days.  (Applies only if the tenancy started prior to October 1, 2021.)


** Although the law prohibits evictions based on failure to pay rent if conditions are met, starting November 1, 2022, landlords can sue to collect past due rent for these periods.