Read the enire document from beginning to end. Figure out exactly what the notice is asking you to do. Is it asking you to move out? Is it asking you to pay rent or do something else within three days? If you have difficulty understanding what the document says, get help understanding it right away. You may have only a few days (or less) to act to keep you home.
What to Do if the Notice is Asking You to Do Something
If the notice is asking you to do something--such as pay rent--or move out, figure out EXACTLY what it is asking you to do. For example, if it is asking you to pay rent, how much rent is is asking you to pay? To whom is it asking you to pay the rent (this may be different than the person to whom you usually pay rent)? Where is it asking you to pay the rent (this may be different than where you usually pay)? On what days and during what hours can you pay the rent? Write these things down of a piece of paper other than the notice itself. If the notice is only asking you to move out, write that down as well,
Figure By When You Have to Act
If the notice is a 3-day notice, you have only three days from when it is served on you to act. To calculate the three days, do not count the day you where served with the notice. For example, if you were served on a Monday, you do not count that day, you count three days ahead, to Thursday. That is the day by which you must act. However, if that third day dis a weekend day or a holiday, you have until the next business day to act. If the notice is a 30- or 60-day notice, you calculate the same way, starting with the day after the day you were served. On a 30- or 60-day notice this may be the day the notice is MAILED, not the day you receive it.
Decide What You Want to Do
If the notice asks you to pay rent (or do some other thing), you can decide if you want to do it, move, or fight eviction. If the notice only asks you to move, your choice is to move or fight eviction. The decision of what to do in the face of a notice from your landlord can involve complicated legal issues regarding your legal rights. It is always a good idea to talk with an experience tenants' attorney before making your decision. Bear in mind that your landlord cannot evict you, even after the notice has expired, without first filing a lawsuit, serving you with a copy of it, and eventually winning the lawsuit. Your landlord cannot legally lock you out. With one very limited exception, only the sheriff can evict you and only after the landlord has won a lawsuit againt you.
Additional resources provided by the author
Bar Association of San Francisco/Lawyer Referral Service, (415) 989-1616