Guide to preparing a valid 3 day notice
Who to name on the notice:Name all persons named on the lease and any other adults residing in the premises you consider liable to pay the rent. Do not name minors.
Amount claimed:You must state the amount of RENT due on the notice. Do not include any item that is not "rent" as defined in the lease. I.e. do not include late fees, utilities, security deposit due, unspecified fees, attorney's fees, court costs, or sheriff's fees in the rent due. If the lease specifically defines any of the preceding as "rent" then you may claim it in the three day notice, although by doing so you may attract unwelcome attention of defense / legal aid attorney's, who thought you made a mistake by so including these other fees.
The notice is defective if the rent claimed as due is too much, the notice is not defective if the rent demanded due is too little. A valid notice is a pre-requsite to filing an eviction complaint. Therefore if your notice is deemed defective, you stand to loose the eviction suit and as the loosing party you are liable for the tenant's legal fees!
When can you serve the notice?The 3 Day Notice can not be served before the rent is past due. I.e. if the rent is due on the first, you can not serve the notice before the 2nd. Note that a grace period before a late fee is imposed does not mean that the rent is not late, so you do not always have to wait until the expiration of grace periods before serving the 3 Day Notice. Check the wording of the lease carefully. Post the notice on the door, do not mail the notice. If you can not post the notice, hire a process server to post it.
Calculating the 3 days:You must write the due date on the notice. The three days are days that court is in session in the county the property is located in, not counting the day the notice is delivered. Check with the Clerk of Court for your county as each county celebrates different holidays. Example of calculating the 3 Days: Rent is due Thursday August 1, 2013. The rent is late on Friday August 2, 2013 and a 3 day notice may be issed that day. Weekends do not count, so the 3 days are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednsday. Therefore the due date is August 7, 2013.
Fatal flaws:The Court's hold that as a 3 Day notice is a pre-requisite to filing a complaint for eviction, a defective three day notice will result in the case being dismissed with prejudice, and fees and costs awarded to the tenant.
The following are mistakes on the three day notice that will subject you to a dismissal:
Failure to state that Weekends and Holidays are excluded in the three days
Failure to state the amount of rent due.
Including fees that are not rent in the amout claimed.
Failure to include landlords name and address and phone number
Using a post office box as the landlord address. It must be a physical address in the same county.
Tenant tenders the rent:Once the 3 Day Notice has been posted the tenant has until close of business on the due date to bring the rent to the landlord address on the notice. If the tenant tenders the full amount of the rent during the 3 days the landlord must accept the payment. The landlord may demand payment in certified funds though. If Landlord accepts any rent after 3 day notice, the three day notice is cancelled and a new one must issue before an eviction can be filed. The landlord may not hold a tenent's tender of rental payment without being deemed to have accepted payment. Acceptance of a check that bounces is still deemed acceptance of payment, which means a new 3 Day Notice would have to be issued after acceptance of a bad check.
The landlord may reject a partial payment. If the landlord accepts a partial payment, the landlord has to issue a new 3 Day Notice for the balance. It is usually best to accept whatever payments you can get and keep issuing 3 Day Notices for the balance due.