What is the effect on a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit in California if the tenant tenders rent? To answer that question, a landlord must determine when the tenant is tendering rent.
Tenant Tenders Rent During 3 Day Notice to Pay or Quit Period
If the tenant tenders the full amount of rent during the 3 day notice to pay or quit period, the tenant has cured his rent default and the landlord should accept the payment. Any mention of forfeiture of the rental agreement in the 3 day notice to pay rent or quit would be nullified per California Code of Civil Procedure 1161.5.
California Code of Civil Procedure 1161.5 reads:
When the notice [to pay rent or quit] required by Section 1161 states that the lessor or the landlord may elect to declare the forfeiture of the lease or rental agreement, that declaration shall be nullified and the lease or rental agreement shall remain in effect if the lessee or tenant performs within three days after service of the notice or if the breach is waived by the lessor or the landlord after service of the notice.
If the landlord refuses to accept the full amount of rent tendered by the tenant, the tenant can deposit the rent into a bank or savings and loan in the landlord’s name and let the landlord know.
California Civil Code section 1500 reads:
An obligation for the payment of money is extinguished by a due offer of payment, if the amount is immediately deposited in the name of the creditor, with some bank or savings and loan association within this state, of good repute, and notice thereof is given to the creditor.
If the landlord accepts a partial rent payment during the 3 day notice period, the landlord would need to serve a new 3 day notice to pay rent or quit for the balance. The landlord cannot file an unlawful detainer action based on the original 3 day notice, if the landlord has accepted a partial rent payment.
Tenant Tenders Rent After 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit Period Expired
If a landlord accepts the rent after the 3 day notice to pay rent or quit period has expired, the landlord in effect waives his right to terminate the tenancy under the notice. If the landlord’s goal is to complete the eviction against the tenant, the landlord’s best choice would be to reject any payment of rent by the tenant after the 3 day notice to pay rent or quit period has expired. The landlord should be sure to include an “election of forfeiture” in his 3 day notice to pay rent or quit.
This rule is different in some commercial tenancies.
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