California Laws on Accepting a Notice to Vacate

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    The Legal Notice

    • The notice to vacate form can be delivered in a number of different formats, but it must be in writing. The notice can be provided in a handwritten form, a typed form or using a predetermined template or format that both the landlord and the tenant agreed to when they began the rental or lease agreement. The notice becomes official when either party has hand-delivered the notice to the other or sent it by regular mail. If from a landlord, the notice is not an eviction; it simply ends the legal rental agreement as originally approved by the parties involved.

    California Civil Code Section 1946

    • The specific time requirement for these notices under California state law is found in Civil Code Section 1946. This statute assumes the tenancy involves a month-to-month rental agreement of real property. If the tenancy has existed less than a year, then the notice must allow for a 30-day period before the vacancy occurs. If the tenancy was more than a year, the notice period must be a minimum of 60 days.


    • Per the California Department of Consumer Affairs, the tenant receiving a notice to vacate has options. First, he can pack up at the end of the notice period and relocate to another residential location, vacating the property. Second, he can try to negotiate to stay longer. If so, a new agreement should be made in writing to protect both parties from subsequent confusion. Third, the tenant can try to stay put but will likely be subject to a legal eviction. If he believes he has a strong case to stay, the tenant can fight the eviction in court. Such a resort should be taken with the help of an attorney versed in landlord-tenant laws.


    • In the situation of a foreclosure on a property, a new property owner who has bought a home or property by legal auction can give the old owner still residing in the home a three-day notice to quit, which essentially is a legal notice to get out. If the old owner doesn't leave, then the new owner must go to court and win a legal eviction, which can take up to 45 days. The new owner can then request the assistance of the local sheriff's department to forcibly move evicted occupants out of the home and remove their property.

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