THE 3-DAY NOTICE TO PAY RENT OR QUIT:
A 3-Day Notice to Pay or Quit is used when a tenant has failed to pay rent and the rent demanded in the notice is now overdue.
Question: When can the notice be served?
Answer: A 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit can be served once rent is actually late. If rent is due on the first of the month, then you can serve the notice on the second, when the rent is late. Be careful though; make sure that the first is not a Saturday, Sunday or Legal Holiday. If the first of the month (or the day your tenant's rent is due) lands on a Sunday, then rent becomes due on Monday and is late Tuesday. You should not serve the notice until Tuesday.
Question: When does the 3-day period start?
Answer: As with any notice, you do not count the day that the notice was served. If a notice is properly served on a Monday, then you count Tuesday as the first day, Wednesday as the second, and Thursday as the third. The tenants would have until Thursday at midnight to comply.
Question: Do weekends count?
Answer: Weekends and holidays do count towards the 3 Days. However, the last day of the notice period must be a regular "court" day (Monday through Friday excluding all government holidays.) A 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit expires at the end of the third day following the service of the notice. If a notice is served on a Thursday, then it would expire on the next Monday at midnight. Even though Sunday would mark the end of the 3-Days, the notice would carry over to Monday. This is because the notice cannot expire on any day other than a regular "court" day. (This example and the above questions assume that the "Monday" was not a legal Holiday).
Question: Can I include late fees in the notice?
Answer: As a general rule, NO. DO NOT INCLUDE ANY CHARGES OTHER THAN "PURE RENT". Courts have held that in residential cases, the 3-Day notice must include rent only. Courts have also held that such a notice is void if it is overstated even if by one penny. Therefore, it is important that you charge only the exact amount of rent actually overdue.
Question: What if the tenants try to pay the rent after the notice has expired?
Answer: If you have properly served a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit and it has expired, then you have a right to evict the nonpaying tenants. If the tenants attempt to pay the rent after the notice has expired, then you have an option. You may reject the late payment and proceed with the eviction, or you may accept the late payment and cancel the eviction. If you decide to accept the money, you will void the notice and the case, allowing your tenant to stay. For partial payments, see the next question.
Question: What if the tenants try to pay within the 3 days?
Answer: If the tenants offer a partial payment within the 3 days, you may reject it. You are under no obligation to accept any amount other than what is stated within the notice. If the tenants attempt to pay the entire amount within the 3 days, then the tenants have complied with the notice as directed and you must accept the payment.