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Can a landlord evict a tenant with only a few days notice?

A common question that both landlords and tenants ask is, "How much notice needs to be given before an eviction?"

In California, the answer to that question depends on several factors. In some cases, it is legal to evict someone with only a three-day warning. In other cases, the landlord must provide a 30-day or 60-day advance notice, and the notice must be in writing. Let's look a little closer at the requirements.

When A Three-Day Notice Is Enough

According to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, a landlord can end a tenancy (and prepare to evict the tenant) by providing written notice three days in advance if the tenant:

  • Doesn't pay the rent
  • Violates some part of the lease agreement or rental agreement
  • Destroys or damages part of the property
  • Becomes a nuisance to other tenants
  • Uses the property for illegal purposes
  • Stalks, assaults or attacks another tenant
  • Uses, sells, manufactures or imports illegal drugs
  • Conducts dog fights or cock fights on the property
  • Commits weapons violations on the property

When A Longer Notice Is Necessary

If none of the reasons above apply, and the tenant has a month-to-month lease, a landlord can end the tenancy by providing a 30-day or 60-day written notice.

In many areas of California, a landlord is not required to provide a reason for doing so. However, certain cities do require a landlord to have "just cause" for evicting a tenant, and in these cities, the notice must clearly state the reason that the landlord is ending the tenancy.

When A Notice Isn't Lawful At All

If a landlord attempts to evict a tenant out of discrimination or retaliation, it is unlawful. For instance, a landlord can't decide to evict a tenant due to his or her race, or because the tenant complained about the condition of the rental property.

If you have questions about your legal rights as a landlord or a tenant in Santa Clara County, Santa Cruz County or beyond, consider consulting an attorney who has particular experience in this area of law. He or she can provide the detailed legal guidance you require.

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