A lot of landlords get sued for relatively minor mistakes in how they provide such notices. For even an innocent mistake, you can end losing in court, compromising your opportunity to quickly remove a non-paying tenant, and even being forced to pay your tenant's attorney fees (which are likely to be about $500), court costs, and a prevailing party fee. Because of this, it is definitely worth your time and money to consult with an attorney who handles landlord-tenant issues before you serve a notice of termination on a tenant for the first time.
What to Write in the 72-Hour Notice:
In order to terminate a rental agreement for failure to pay rent, you must deliver to the tenant at least 72 hours' written notice of nonpayment and your intention to terminate the rental agreement if the rent is not paid within that period. Say each of these things specifically in the notice.
When to Serve Notice for Week-to-Week Tenancies:
For a week-to-week tenancy, you must wait until the 5th day of the rental period, including the 1st day the rent is due.
When to Serve Notice for all other Tenancies other than Week-to-Week:
For all other tenancies (month-to-month, 1yr leases, etc.), you have 2 options:
Option #1: Provide at least 72 hours' written notice of nonpayment and state your intention to terminate the rental agreement if the rent is not paid within that period. You must wait until the 8th day of the rental period, including the 1st day the rent becomes due.
Option #2: Provide at least 144 hours' written notice of nonpayment and your intention to terminate the rental agreement if the rent is not paid within that period. You must wait until the 5th day of the rental period, including the 1st day the rent becomes due.
How to Compute when Rent is Actually Late:
In the 2 sections above, I explained that you must wait a specific number of days before serving a 72-hour notice depending on the type of tenancy. For example in a week-to-week tenancy, you must wait "until the 5th day of the rental period, including the 1st day rent is due." Here's what this really means: If rent is due on the 1st day of the month under the rental agreement, then it is not late until the 5th day of the month and you cannot serve the 72-hour notice before the 5th.
If the tenancy is any kind other than week-to-week and you chose to go with 72-hour rather than 144-hour notice and rent is due on the 1st day of the month, it is not late until the 8th.
If in either of these examples, rent was due on the 5th, you would start counting on that day and add the correct amount of days after that depending on the type of tenancy and notice period you are providing.
In your notice, you must also specifically tell the tenant the amount of rent that must be paid and the date and time by which the tenant must pay the rent in order to "cure" the nonpayment of rent.
If the tenant pays by the time specified in your notice, they've "cured" the violation and can continue to live there unless they get behind on the rent again. If the tenant fails to cure, you will have to go to court to get them evicted based on their failure to pay rent, your 72-hour notice, and their subsequent failure to cure the violation.
How to Serve a Written Notice:
Your notice must be WRITTEN and must be served in one of the following 3 ways:
(1) Personal delivery to the tenant,
(2) 1st class mail, or
(3) 1st class mail & attached to the main entrance of the dwelling (IF your rental agreement provides for this).
Two Final Notes on Service:
If you mail the notice, 3 days needs to be added to the notice period. This is to allow time to allow delivery by US mail. Do not forget to add this additional time, as leaving it off means your notice has been improper and this is sufficient to defeat an otherwise good 72-hour notice.
Also, however you end up delivering the notice, be sure to keep a good record. This is your evidence to use in court if your tenant disputes the eviction later on.
If you Want Assistance, Feel Free to Schedule a Consultation at my Offices:
Orion J. Nessly, Attorney at Law, 4040 Douglas Way, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035, Phone: (503) 635-7773, Fax: (503) 334-3614, Email: [email protected], Website: http://nesslylaw.com
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