This form is used by a residential property manager or landlord when the landlord is terminating a month-to-month rental agreement or the occupancy of a tenant paying rent under an expired lease, and the tenant has resided in the property for one year or more, to terminate the tenancy and require the tenant to vacate.
Notice to vacate for a periodic tenancy
A periodic tenancy automatically continues for successive equivalent periods of time, such as a week or a month. The length of each successive period of time is determined by the interval between scheduled rental payments. A periodic tenancy is automatically renewed when the landlord accepts rent.
Examples of periodic payment intervals include:
- annual rental payments, indicating a year-to-year tenancy;
- monthly rental payments, indicating a month-to-month tenancy; and
- weekly rental payments, indicating a week-to-week tenancy.
A periodic tenancy is created when a landlord and tenant enter into a rental agreement. A rental agreement sets the terms of a periodic tenancy, including the rent to be paid, who will pay which utilities, and the maintenance responsibilities between the landlord and tenant. [See RPI Form 551]
A periodic tenancy also arises due to occupancy under a defective lease agreement. A tenant who enters into possession under an unenforceable lease agreement (e.g., oral, or unsigned) and pays rent in monthly intervals that the landlord accepts is a month-to-month tenant.
A periodic tenancy continues until terminated by service of a notice to vacate. This makes a periodic tenancy flexible, since it allows either the landlord or the tenant to terminate a month-to-month tenancy by giving the other the appropriate notice to vacate. [Kingston v. Colburn (1956) 139 CA2d 623; Calif. Civil Code §1946; see RPI Form 569 and 572]
To terminate a periodic tenancy, the notice period needs to be at least as long as the interval between scheduled rental payments, but need not exceed 30 days. However, an exception exists when a residential tenant has occupied the property for more than 12 months, which requires a 60-day notice to terminate the periodic tenancy. [CC §1946.1; see RPI Form 569-1]
The 30-Day Notice to Vacate – From Residential Landlord published by RPI is used by a residential property manager or landlord when the landlord is terminating a month-to-month tenancy and the tenant has occupied the property for less than one year, requiring the tenant to vacate. [See RPI Form 569]
For commercial property, the 30-Day Notice to Vacate – From Nonresidential Landlord published by RPI is used by a nonresidential property manager or landlord when the landlord seeks to terminate a month-to-month rental agreement or the occupancy of a tenant paying rent under an expired lease, to terminate the tenancy and require the tenant to vacate. [See RPI Form 571]
Landlord’s intent for a tenant to vacate
A notice to vacate form (as distinguished from a notice to quit) used by a landlord contains:
- the name of the tenant;
- the address of the premises;
- a reference to the rental agreement or expired lease;
- a statement that the unit needs to be vacant within the applicable number of days (30 or 60) after service of the notice;
- the dollar amount of pro rata rent to be paid when rent is next due;
- a statement regarding the security deposit and its disposition;
- a statement informing the tenant of their right to request a joint pre-expiration inspection of the premises so they may act to avoid deductions from their security deposit; and
- a statement notifying residential tenants of their right to reclaim abandoned personal property.
Notices to vacate do not include declarations of forfeiture since a breach is not involved allowing for three days to require the tenant to vacate. When the notice expires, the tenancy automatically terminates since the tenant no longer holds an estate in the property. The content of the landlord’s notice to vacate eliminates any confusion over the amount of rent to be paid for the remaining term of the tenancy. [See RPI Form 569 and 569-1]
Tenant’s intent to vacate
A tenant, residential or nonresidential, who intends to vacate and avoid further liability under a month-to-month rental agreement serves the landlord with a 30-day advance notice the tenant is vacating. The notice may be in the form of a letter personally delivered to the landlord or their agent, or sent by certified or registered mail. [CC §1946]
The tenant and landlord are best served by the landlord handing the tenant a blank 30-day notice to vacate form when entering into a rental agreement, but not when entering into a lease agreement. The tenant will then have the correct paperwork to complete and deliver documentation to the landlord or property manager. Use of a form lends certainty to the tenant’s understanding of a critical event. [See RPI Form 572]
A 30-day notice used by a tenant to advise the landlord they intend to vacate acknowledges:
- the tenancy is terminated on expiration of 30 days after service of the notice on the landlord or the manager;
- the tenant intends to pay pro rata rent;
- the amount of the security deposit;
- the tenant’s right to request a joint pre-expiration inspection and receive an itemized statement of maintenance and cleaning deficiencies for any potential deductions from the security deposit;
- a security deposit statement and refund based on any deductions for cleaning and repairs on a final review of the premises by the landlord or property manager; and
- the landlord’s right to show the premises to a prospective tenant on 24 hour notice. [See RPI Form 569 and 569-1]
If a tenant serves the landlord or property manager with a 30-day notice to vacate, but fails to vacate the residence after expiration of the notice, they become a holdover tenant unlawfully in possession. The tenancy has been terminated by the tenant’s notice and with it the right to occupancy. The landlord may immediately file a UD action to evict the tenant. No further notice to quit is required since the tenancy has already been terminated.
Service of the notice to vacate
A notice to vacate may be served at any time during the month.
However, a nonresidential landlord and tenant may agree in a rental agreement that the 30-day notice to vacate may not be served during the last seven days of the month. In contrast, service of a notice to vacate can occur at any time in a residential periodic tenancy. [CC §1946]
To be effective in nonresidential tenancies, the notice to vacate from a tenant or landlord needs to be served:
- in the same manner as a three-day notice (in person, by substitution or ultimately post and mail); or
- by certified or registered mail, methods of service not available for three-day notices to quit. [See RPI Form 571]
The date of service is the date the notice, attempted in the following priorities, is:
- personally served;
- handed to a person of suitable age and discretion at either the residence of the tenant or the tenant’s place of business; or
- posted in a conspicuous place on the leased premises and mailed by certified or registered mail.
The minimum period within which the tenant is to vacate begins to run the day after the date of service, which is day one of the 30- or 60-day period. [CC §10]
If the day for expiration of the notice is a Saturday, Sunday or a federal holiday, the tenant is not required to vacate until the next business day. [Calif. Code of Civil Procedures §12a]
Most properly completed notice to vacate forms give a specific date by which the tenant needs to vacate, on or before at least 30 days after service of the notice. The day is not left to chance when filling out the notice and, as a practical matter, not set as a weekend day or holiday.
Rent control limitations on eviction
When a residential rental property is located in a rent control community, the landlord has less discretion to terminate tenancies and evict tenants with a notice to vacate.
Typically, the termination of a tenancy and evictions are allowed in rent control communities when:
- the tenant fails to pay rent or otherwise materially breaches the lease agreement;
- the tenant creates a nuisance;
- the tenant refuses to renew a lease;
- the tenant uses the residence for an illegal purpose; or
- the landlord or a relative will occupy the unit.
A landlord and their property manager of a property subject to residential rent control need to be aware of local restrictions placed on landlords for the eviction of tenants.
Good reason to evict exception
Generally, a landlord is not required to state their reasons for terminating the occupancy in a notice to vacate, or even have good cause for evicting a month-to-month tenant. [CC §1946]
Exceptions exist. If a tenant’s unit is subject to rent control, the landlord needs to state a good cause for terminating the tenancy.
Likewise, when a tenant’s rent is subsidized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Section 8 housing program, the landlord will state their good cause in the 30-day notice to vacate as the reason for the termination. Good cause includes:
- the tenant’s material noncompliance with the rental agreement;
- the tenant’s material failure to carry out their obligations under any state or local landlord and tenant act;
- criminal activity conducted by the tenant on the premises that threatens the health, safety, or right to peaceful enjoyment of the premises by other tenants; or
- other good cause. [24 Code of Federal Regulations §247.3(b)]
Material noncompliance includes:
- one or more substantial violations of the lease agreement;
- repeated minor violations of the lease agreement, such as violations which disrupt the livability of the project or interfere with the management of the project;
- failure to timely supply required income and eligibility information to the landlord or knowingly providing incomplete or inaccurate information; and
- failure to pay rent or any other financial obligation due under the lease agreement beyond any grace period.
The tenant is given notice of the landlord’s good cause so they can prepare any defense they may have to avoid eviction. [Mitchell v. Poole (1988) 203 CA3d Supp. 1]
Recall that a material breach of a rental agreement is handled by a three-day notice to quit, not a notice to vacate which is used when no tenant breach exists. However, to terminate a tenancy for Section 8 housing, a landlord provides the tenant with a separate notice identifying the inappropriate conduct of the tenant which is the basis for “good cause” to terminate the occupancy. [24 CFR §247.3(b)]
Whether or not a landlord provides good cause for terminating a tenancy, a landlord may not evict a tenant for a wrong reason. The landlord terminating a tenancy for the wrong reason may find they are not only unable to evict the tenant, but defending against the tenant’s claim the eviction is:
- retaliation for the tenant making official complaints about the property or against the landlord;
- based on discriminatory reasons, such as the tenant’s ethnicity or marital status; or
- improper because of the landlord’s failure to maintain the property in a habitable condition.
Form updated 11-2016 to include the Form Description at the top, white header/footer convention and RPI branding.
Form navigation page published 11-2016.