Everything You Need To Know About A 3 Day Notice To Pay Rent Or Quit

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, everyone dreads the 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. No one wants to be evicted and no landlord wants to make that difficult decision or go through the process of evicting someone.

For landlords, this is a big reason why they hire a property management company in the first place. They dread this process and many have a hard time following through when it comes time to serve this notice and possibly file an unlawful detainer.

For tenants, receiving this notice can be scary, frustrating and confusing. Maybe you didn’t realize that your check bounced or your account had insufficient funds so the automatic rent payment didn’t go through. Or maybe you had a financial emergency and you just don’t have the money for rent this month.

Landlords are not required to serve tenants with this notice as soon as they are late on rent and most won’t. If there’s a good relationship between landlord and tenant, it’s much more likely that the landlord will call the tenant to figure out what’s going on and when the rent will be paid. If there have been multiple late payments or there isn’t a good reason for the rent being late, tenants can likely expect one of these notices from their landlord. Legally, this notice can be served the day after rent is late or if the lease has a grace period, the day after that has passed.

What is a 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit?

A 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit is simply a form used to notify a tenant that they are in violation of their lease for not paying rent and that they have 3 days to pay up or move out. It is the first legal step required before a landlord can move forward with an eviction by filing an unlawful retainer.

lease is a legally binding contract and this notice is a means of enforcing that contract.

What Needs to be Included on a 3 Day Notice?

If a landlord fills out one of these notices incorrectly or leaves out information, the notice will not be recognized by the court and the tenant will be able to maintain legal possession of the property, even if they owe unpaid rent, until the landlord serves the 3 day correctly.

A 3 Day Pay Rent or Quit Notice must be in writing and must contain the following information:

  • Full name of the tenant(s).
  • Address of the rental unit.
  • Date the notice was served to the tenant(s).
  • Total amount of rent owed (cannot go back more than 1 year even if more than 1 year’s worth of rent is owed).
  • Dates for which the overdue rent is for.
  • A statement that the tenant(s) owes rent and that it must be paid within 3 days or else an unlawful detainer will be filed with the court.
  • The name, phone number and address of the person or company that can receive the rent as well as that days and hours that person or company is available to receive rent.
  • A certificate or statement of how the notice was served to the tenant(s).

The landlord cannot require the tenant to pay rent in cash and cannot demand other unpaid amounts such as late fees, interest, utilities, damage or anything else that is not rent money.

If the tenant pays within those 3 days (the first day being the day after the notice is served), then the tenancy continues as normal. Late fees can be charged in accordance with the lease, but even if those are not paid, eviction cannot be pursued after rent has been paid within those 3 days. If the landlord attempts to continue with the eviction by filing an unlawful detainer, the tenant will be able to easily defend against with proof of paying rent in the 3 day period after the notice was received.

If the tenant offers to pay at some point past the 3 days, the landlord has the option to allow that or they can proceed with an eviction once the 3 days have passed.

How a 3 Day Notice Can Be Served

Just as important as the content of a 3 day notice is how that notice is served to the tenant.

The landlord can serve the tenant in any of the following ways:

  • Hand deliver the notice to the tenant(s) at the rental or their place of work.
  • If the tenant(s) cannot be easily found, the landlord can give the notice to someone over the age of 18 at the rental or the tenant’s place of work. If this is done, the landlord must also mail the notice.
  • If the tenant(s) cannot be easily found and there is no one over 18 to hand deliver the notice to, the landlord can post the notice in a conspicuous place on the rental unit. If this is done, the landlord must also mail the notice.

Failing to serve the tenant in one of these ways can result in the court not recognizing the 3 day notice as valid.

What Happens Next?

There are several different things that can happen after the 3 day notice has been successfully delivered, depending on how the tenant responds.

The easiest and simplest way to resolve a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit is simply pay the rent. The eviction process ends here and the tenancy continues as normal.

This doesn’t always happen and if the tenant contacts the landlord and arranges a day to pay the rent after the 3 days have passed, the landlord can choose not to continue with the eviction. However, if the landlord insists rent must be paid within those 3 days and the tenant does not, the next step is to file an unlawful detainer.


Filing an Unlawful Detainer

Filing an unlawful detainer correctly is a lengthy process and needs to be done with extreme care as any mistake will result in the case being thrown out by the court. Once an unlawful detainer is filed, the landlord can no longer accept rent payments from the tenant.

There following 3 forms need to be filled out by the landlord:

  1. Summons – Unlawful Detainer-Eviction
  2. Complaint – Unlawful Detainer
  3. Civil Case Cover Sheet

This is the point where the landlord needs to seek legal advice in filling out these forms. If these forms are filled out incorrectly or missing information, the tenant will have an easy defense against the eviction on that basis.

After the forms are filled out, they need to be filed with the court and served to the tenant. The method in which these forms must be served is extremely important and advice should be received from a lawyer for this step as well.

After serving, the tenant is given an opportunity to respond. If they do respond, the landlord can ask for a trial and take the matter before a judge who will ultimately decide who should legally be in possession of the property.

Once decided, assuming possession is granted back to the landlord, a “lock out date” is scheduled with the county sheriff. The sheriff will post a notice to vacate 5 days prior to the lock out date. After those 5 days have passed, the landlord will meet the sheriff at the property and the sheriff will enter and remove any remaining occupants and return possession back to the landlord.

The Eviction Aftermath

Evictions can be a nightmare and the thought of dealing with an eviction will keep many investors from ever purchasing investment property. They cost hundreds of dollars in legal fees, not to mention time and money lost by not receiving rental income during an eviction.

After regaining possession, the landlord may have to legally handle abandoned property left in the rental home by the tenant. This is another 15 day process that has several legal requirements, all of which are easy to mess up and can result in a lawsuit from the tenant. That’s right, even if the tenant owes you thousands in back rent and is evicted from the home but leaves their stuff there, they can sue you for mishandling their stuff.

Many times after an eviction, the home has been trashed and will cost thousands in rehabilitation costs. This can take weeks and means more time the house is off the market and not generating rental income.

For tenants, an eviction is like a scarlet letter. It stays on your record for 7 years and many landlords and property management companies can and will refuse to rent to you if you have one on your record. If you don’t pay the rent and other charges you owe, your wages can be garnished or they can go to collections. Job applications and loan applications may also ask if you have ever been evicted.

Many tenants leave after an eviction feeling triumphant and like they really “stuck it to the landlord” by staying in the property for weeks without paying rent. In reality, they will have an extremely difficult time finding a new place to live with an eviction. History of nonpayment of rent is one of the legal reasons given by Fair Housing for landlords to reject potential tenants.

Final Steps

If you are a tenant that has just received a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit, don’t panic. Check out this article for our recommended tips on what to do next.

If you are a landlord staring down the long road of the eviction process and just don’t want to handle it, contact us today. Unfortunately, we’ve done this before and we know what we’re doing. A good property management company can do most of the above steps for you and will be able to screen tenants more thoroughly than you can on your own to prevent this from ever happening in the first place.

For a comprehensive guide to managing rental property, check out this resource.

Sawyer Shwetz

Property Manager

Sawyer is an Assistant Property Manager at Mesa Properties Inc. He focuses primarily on property management and improving “behind the scenes” processes. Sawyer obtained his Bachelors of Science degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Cal Poly Pomona.

During his college years, Sawyer worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he designed and implemented new destructive tests for flight hardware prototypes. He also conducted heat treatment operations for projects including the Mars 2020 Rover, Mars Insight, and the ISS.

Sawyer has been involved in the property management business since High School. He enjoys business more than engineering, which is why he has decided to pursue a career in property management.

DRE: 02091893

Allan Miraflor

Maintenance Coordinator

Allan is our maintenance coordinator at Mesa Properties. He helps tenants with their maintenance needs, and coordinate with vendors with scheduling and completion of work orders. He has 10 years of customer service and sales experience in the financial industries, healthcare, telecommunications and satellite TV. He has studied business management for 3 years and holds a certificate for general education from Brigham Young University Idaho. Allan is a basketball fanatic and always want his Golden State Warriors to win every year in the NBA finals. When he’s not working he loves to spend time with his wife and two children going to Korean and Japanese buffets.

Meghan Miller


Meghan is one of the newest members of our Mesa Properties Inc. Team and works in our accounting department. She studied accounting at Chaffey College. Prior to joining Mesa Properties Inc., Meghan was a bookkeeper for 6 years at a CPA firm that primarily worked with dairy farms. She enjoys working for Mesa Properties Inc. because she is able to use her accounting experience in whole new ways and also enjoys the friendly office environment that has been established here. Meghan resides in Rancho Cucamonga with her husband and two sons.

Rebecca Anthony

Administrative Assistant

Rebecca is one of our administrative assistants and is one of the warm and friendly voices you will hear when you call our office. She has a strong customer experience background from her past role with Sprint and loves assisting our owners and tenants. When she isn’t working, Rebecca loves to bake and spend time with her son and family.

Steve Shwetz

Managing Broker

Steve, the Managing Broker and Founder of Mesa Properties Inc. & Mesa Real Estate, began his real estate career buying, fixing and reselling distressed properties in Southern California. Seeing the long-term opportunity in a buy and hold strategy, Steve began acquiring residential real estate to build his own real estate rental portfolio. As a 10 year owner of an international service franchise, Steve saw an opportunity to take his experience in customer service and developing systems and processes and apply that experience to the world of property management and real estate. Prior to starting his own businesses Steve held various senior and advisory level sales positions with IBM Corp., B. Braun Medical, Insight Direct & Reach Local. Steve is a licensed real estate broker and holds a Bachelors in Business from the University of Southern California.

DRE: 01881471

Sheryl Shwetz

General Manager, Administration

Sheryl helped to establish Mesa Properties Inc. with Steve. Today, she serves as the backbone of all things administrative for the company. Sheryl oversees all the details of running a property management company including on-boarding new owners, converting applicants to tenants, and paying all vendors. After earning her B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, Sheryl worked for a software development company running the support and training department and writing user documentation. Sheryl also gained experience at an advertising agency servicing non-profit organizations where she drafted vendor instructions for merging customer data with various fundraising campaigns. Sheryl has 3 sons and home-schooled them through various stages of their K-8 education. Each one is now thriving in adulthood.

Sam Shwetz

Business Development Manager

Sam is the Business Development Manager at Mesa Properties Inc. focusing on engaging both new and existing owners of residential and commercial properties.  Sam is a U.S. Navy veteran having served in the Nuclear Field on the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.

After his military service , Sam worked for a lighting control company as a field service engineer on various projects including extensive work on Apple’s new corporate headquarters in Cupertino California.

Sam and his wife Sydney are homeowners in Ontario, CA where they live with their golden retriever.

DRE: 02069937

Verenice Guardado Alvarado

Lead Office Administrator

Verenice is the office administrator to our Mesa Properties Inc. Team. She is also licensed and manages properties in the high desert. She earned her Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from San Joaquin Valley College and used her skills working in customer service. Previously, Verenice worked 4 years with Target where she trained sales associates and developed strong communication and teamwork skills. Through her position at Mesa Properties Inc., Verenice strives to find the right tenant for each owner and the right home for each tenant.

DRE: 02036438

Mark Parmenter

Property Manager

Prior to joining Mesa Properties Inc., Mark worked in the construction industry as a member of the carpenters union. He holds an Associates degree in Business, he is a licensed agent, certified in property management and enjoys the unique challenges of property management. Mark is a homeowner himself and experienced with on site multi-unit management. He understands the delicate balance of working with tenants as a landlord, owner and neighbor.

DRE: 01981906

Joshua Long

Property Manager

Joshua is a property manager to the Mesa Properties Inc. team. With a background in sales, Joshua gained the strong communication skills necessary to be an effective problem solver when handling any situation he is faced with. Growing up, Joshua watched his mother work as an apartment manager for over 20 years. Now, as a property manager, Joshua focuses on addressing the needs of both renters and homeowners. He is a focused hard-worker who ambitiously seeks to become better in his position and to gain more knowledge at whatever task is at hand. Joshua is an Upland area native and is a licensed real estate agent. He currently holds 2 Associate’s Degrees and is working towards gaining his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from CSUSB.

DRE: 01998522

Bridget O'Gorman

Assistant Property Manager

Bridget is now a property manager to the Mesa Properties Inc. team. She currently resides in Victorville with her daughter. In 2014, Bridget obtained her Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from San Joaquin Valley College with a 4.0 GPA. Prior to working for Mesa Properties Inc., she has held various customer service jobs, where she gained better understanding of how to handle different situations and how to work with each person on an individual level. In addition, Bridget worked as a safety manager and recruiting assistant for a transportation company, giving her experience in processing applications and completing safety inspections. Bridget enjoys working for a company where she is able to assist others and to work in a changing environment, which is always giving her a chance for a new experience.

DRE: 02040663

Julia Morrison

Property Manager

Julia is a property manager to the Mesa Properties Inc. Team! Julia currently holds an Associates degree in Criminal Justice. She is currently enrolled at CSUSB with plans of going to law school after. Having worked 4 years in a customer service field, Julia has gained much experience in working with difficult situations and learned how to be a team leader. Prior to working in customer service, Julia worked for an HOA, where she gained computer & phone skills and learned how to handle an overflowing stack of paperwork! She enjoys working with people and assisting them in finding a home that they love. Julia became a homeowner in 2016 and currently resides in Upland with her fiance.

DRE: 02040250

Autumn Janda

Tenant Screening

Autumn gained her real estate license in 2011, but has been in the property management field since 2005. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from CSUSB in 2009. Prior to joining Mesa Properties Inc., Autumn gained much of her experience being an assistant property manager for commercial properties for six years! She also spent five years working in a company that worked with commercial, industrial, and apartment properties. Autumn enjoys working for Mesa Properties Inc. because she gets to work with new tasks everyday and likes meeting new people. She is currently a homeowner in Arizona, where she resides with her husband and daughter.

DRE: 01765918

Donna Pulver


Donna is the receptionist to our Mesa Properties Inc. Team since November of 2016! Her tasks include answering calls, scheduling showing appointments, processing adverse action letters, assisting with applications, and assisting customers in the front desk. Having worked over 25 years for a real estate appraisal company located in Covina, Donna has gained much experience in providing great customer service. Donna currently lives in Victorville.

Carmen Franco

Administrative Assistant

Carmen is one of the newest members to the Mesa Properties Inc. Team! Her tasks include showing available rental properties, assisting with phone calls, and completing inspections. Carmen graduated from University Preparatory High School in 2011. She has earned her certificate in Business Administration from San Joaquin Valley College with a 4.0 GPA. Getting to know the team at Mesa Properties Inc., Carmen has been inspired to pursue a career in property management. She is eager to learn more about property management and prides herself in bringing a positive and caring attitude to everyone and everything she does. Carmen resides in Apple Valley with her husband and 2 children.

Amairani Palacios

Transaction Coordinator

Amairani is the transaction coordinator to the Mesa Properties Inc. Team! Her main role is coordinating real estate transactions for the real estate agents. Her other tasks include assisting the property managers with inspections, calls, and emails. Having been a member in the AFJROTC program for Victor Valley High School for 3 years, Amairani has gained experience in coordinating tasks and working with other team members as a Team Leader. Amairani has completed the needed real estate courses and is working on obtaining her real estate license.

DRE 02049281

Michael Melendez

Real Estate Agent

Mike has been practicing real estate in Southern California since 2006. His family and friends have always been involved in home loans, new construction, and rehabilitation projects, deepening his knowledge of all aspects of the industry. As a Realtor, Mike’s service’s consist of helping buyers and sellers obtain property that best suits their interests. Finding his clients great deals, maximizing their proceeds and finding them the right home is what he does best. Mike understands that real estate is one of the biggest purchases and sales that can be made, and choosing the right agent is an important decision. He has both the experience and technology to help his clients meet their goals.

DRE: 01781635

Sonya Dod

Real Estate Agent

Sonya Dod has been a licensed real estate agent since 1989, Sonya is an agent who facilitates successful transactions for buyers as well as sellers, boasting a solid reputation for making deals with honesty and integrity. Since Sonya was raised on a Texas farm, she isn’t afraid of hard work and long hours. After her parents moved to California 40 years ago, they started buying investment properties. So she grew familiar and comfortable with the process of finding, fixing up and selling properties at an early age. Having served as an underwriter, processor and loan officer, Sonya has the knowledge and experience necessary to help sellers and buyers avoid wasting time opening meaningless transactions. What’s more, sellers are protected by her expertise as she requires buyers to provide written permission to speak directly to lenders. This unique approach fosters quickly closed deals and eliminates false representation.

DRE: 01055445

Raymond Palacios

Administrative Assistant

Raymond is an administrative assistant to the Mesa Properties Inc. Team! His tasks include performing inspections, showing properties, serving documents, and assisting with phone calls. Raymond holds a Bachelors in Business Management from California State University of San Bernardino. Having worked 4 years at a customer service field, Raymond has gained much experience in assisting and providing great quality customer service. Prior to working in customer service, Raymond volunteered and worked 6 years for a food distribution center where he gained the experience in efficiently coordinating important tasks within a company.