First of all I must stress that the Notice to quite MUST be written. I have had landlods that have sent emails , text messages etc. - that is not legal notice under the letter of the law. When a landlord comes to me after giving such a notice and says "lets start the eviction" I inform them that they simply outsmarted themselves and that we will have to do a new notice to comply with the law.
The notice must state the following information:
1. The Date:
The notice must include the date the tenant was served. This is obvious - right? if you don’t have a date how will the court know if you gave the right amount of notice. (see blog "Right Amount of Notice" to find out how many days are required for your specific situation)
2. name and address of tenant’s rental unit
No explanation needed – I hope?
3. the reason for the notice
There are three reasons a landlord can evict a tenant. I can’t tell you how many times a landlord approached me an said “this tenant is a real bother can I evict them ?” and if the tenant has not committed one of the following, the general answer is NO – you can’t evict a tenant just because you don’t like them or they are bugging you. In fact if you do that you are liable to be hit with a charge of “landlord retaliatory action” carrying punitive damages – so don’t do that.
Anyway the three reasons are:
a) Nonpayment of rent.
b) Breach of a covenant in the lease.
This means that the tenant is not upholding the lease terms. For example if it says no pets and the tenant has pets on the premises, well that’s a breach and an eviction can be started (you must follow the procedures as a regular non-payment of rent eviction). Another one I get often is a tenant who is constantly paying late. That’s a beach of the lease too. BEWARE.
c) Drugs and illegal activity taking place in the premises. This is a different animal formthe first two and we will try to flush it out in a different blog.
5. Total amount of due.
You must tell the tenant what they owe you. That includes back-rent, any late charges, utilities fees if applicable.
6. Just follow what I’m writing.
I’ll give you the next line because many landlords forget to include it
“you have X days to pay the rent (and late charges etc.) by [insert appropriate date] or move out and if you do not vacate the premise by that time your landlord will pursue legal action (an eviction lawsuit) against you.”
If an eviction notice is missing key information, specifically any of the points mentioned above, then your notice is invalid, and guess what, you’ll need give a new notice to the tenant, restarting the appropriate timeline, and the notice would have to include all of the information listed above. If you need help or are unsure contact my office at 215 -254- 8690 or email me at Samuel@thesbslawfirm.com.