3 Day Notice in California – What if the Tenant Wants to Pay?

 

If the landlord serves a tenant with a 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit, what happens if the tenant wants to pay?  This is a question I frequently receive from my landlord clients.

In some cases, the landlord must accept the rent from the tenant.  In other cases, the landlord definitely should not accept the rent.

When MUST the Landlord accept rent on a 3 Day Notice?

A tenant that was property served with a valid 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit has the option to pay the entire amount of rent due within 3 days after being served with the 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.  By it’s very nature, a 3 Day Notice is an either/or situation.  The tenant has the ability to either 1) pay the rent, or 2) move out.  This is clear by the name of the form itself – it is called a “3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit” for a reason!  The landlord can only move forward with an eviction against the tenant if the tenant fails to pay the rent due or move out of the house within three days after being served with the 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit.  If the tenant pays the full rent (partial rent is not good enough!) within the 3 day period, then the landlord will be unable to sue the tenant in an eviction proceeding based on non-payment of rent (because no rent is due!).  If the tenant offered to pay the full rent during the 3 day period, but the landlord refuses to accept the rent, this will be a valid defense for the tenant when sued for an eviction and the landlord may lose the case.  Therefore, if the tenant tenders the rent during the 3 day period, the landlord must accept it.

When should the Landlord NOT accept rent that was based on a 3 Day Notice?

Sometimes, tenants will try to pay the rent, or partial rent, after the 3 days have expired.  Landlords should NOT accept ANY rent offered by the tenant after the 3 day period has elapsed, unless the landlord does not want to evict the tenant.  Accepting rent after the 3 day notice has expired may invalidate any eviction that was filed in the court.  The landlord needs to decide if he prefers to keep the tenant, or wants the tenant out of the house.  If the landlord wants to keep the tenant, then the landlord can accept the rent and cancel the pending eviction (accepting the rent may invalidate the eviction anyway).  If the landlord wants the tenant out of the house, then the landlord should NOT accept any rent tendered by the tenant after the 3 day notice period expires.  Instead, the landlord should continue the eviction process.  Unlike tendering rent during the 3 day period, an offer by the tenant to pay the rent to the landlord AFTER the 3 day notice period is normally no defense to the eviction.

Other helpful landlord links relating to the 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit:

Contact the Law Office of David Piotrowski to begin your eviction today.

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