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 a 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

Moenique Hall

Assistant Property Manager

Moenique is an Army Veteran and brat, born in Baltimore; raised mostly in Texas. In the Army, her job was in aircraft and vehicle logistics. She obtained an Associates Degree in Business Administration from San Joaquin Valley College with a 4.0 GPA in 2019. She is currently attending Park University in pursuit of her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration/ Human Resources.

She is married with no children. Her husband is currently serving active duty Army so she enjoys seeing new places and making new memories with him. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and trying new foods, growing in her faith, bike riding, hiking, small decor projects and binge watching movies and TV shows.

She enjoys working with Mesa as an administrative assistant and is looking forward to endless possibilities and growth within her career.

Iliana Urena

Director of Leasing and Applications

Iliana manages the application process at Mesa and is responsible for screening tenants as well as helping out with other admin related jobs around the office. Prior to joining Mesa, Iliana held several customer service job with her most recent being the dispatcher for a transportation company in Mira Loma, CA.

Iliana currently resides in Phelan, where she lives with her husband and three children. Iliana enjoys working for a company where there are opportunities for growth, while gaining experience and knowledge.

Tina Salazar

Real Estate Agent

Tina Salazar joined our real estate team in July of 2019. Prior to becoming a Realtor, she had a background in the medical field. After many long hours and becoming a mother, she decided to pursue real estate. Her family and friends have always been involved in new construction and real estate, which helped spark her interest in the field. She also works along side her brother, Michael.

As a Realtor, Tina’s services consist of helping buyers and sellers obtain property that best suits them. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her 3 boys and husband. They enjoy their time in Boy Scouts and soccer.


Irish Dee

Maintenance Coordinator

Irish is the maintenance coordinator at Mesa. She has an Associates Degree in Arts for Dental Medicine and has experience with customer service and problem solving from her time with AT&T and Microsoft. She then worked in human resources which helped improve her people skills and ability to create processes and procedures, which is part of what makes her a great Maintenance Coordinator here at Mesa.

Irish loves working at Mesa because of the culture in the office and her ability to help our tenants with their maintenance issues. In her free time, she loves spending time with her daughter, reading books and keeping up with politics.

Charlene Gumabay

Leasing and Applications Assistant

Charlene is the Leasing and Applications Assistant at Mesa who is trained to handle phone calls and mostly work side by side with the Director of Leasing and Applications as the primary contact for rental applicants. She has a great deal of experience in customer service from working with Macys and Bloomingdales for several years which helped her become more effective in her role as she is known to be very efficient and shows willingness to help every time.

Richan Nuynay

Administrative Assistant

Richan is a one the administrative assistants at Mesa. She has developed impeccable phone manners and an ability to provide good customer service with her more than a decade of experience from her previous roles with Dell and AOL. Assisting our owners and tenants is her passion. She loves making do-it-yourself stuff, cooking and spending quality time with her family when she is not working.

Rustin Harris

Assistant Property Manager

Meghan Williams


Meghan is one of the newest members of our Mesa Team and works in our accounting department. She studied accounting at Chaffey College. Prior to joining Mesa, Meghan was a bookkeeper for 6 years at a CPA firm that primarily worked with dairy farms. She enjoys working for Mesa 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

Inland Empire Branch Manager

Sam is the Inland Empire Branch Manager at Mesa 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 has his Bachelors of Science degree in business with an emphasis in finance.

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

DRE: 02069937

Verenice Guardado Alvarado

Property Manager

Verenice is one of our property managers on the Mesa Properties Team. 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, 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

High Desert Branch Manager

Joshua is the High Desert Branch Manager for the Mesa team. With a background in sales and finance, Joshua gained the strong communication skills necessary to be an effective problem solver when handling any situation he is faced with.

He currently manages and facilitates office relations including hiring new office personnel. Joshua also assists with the business development side of the company, as he effectively works to enroll new and existing homeowners for management of their investment properties.

Joshua graduated in 2019 from CSUSB with his Bachelors of the Arts degree in Administration with a concentration in Management. He graduated with the distinctions of honors and cum laude. Joshua and his wife, Claudia, are currently homeowners in Victorville where they reside with their son and two dogs.

DRE: 01998522

Carmen Franco

Property Manager

Carmen has been part of the Mesa team since 2017. She 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. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her children and volunteering for animal rescues. Getting to know the team at Mesa, Carmen has been inspired to pursue a career in property management. She is a very driven individual who is motivated to learn more each and everyday. Carmen enjoys communicating with tenants and owners to ensure the best customer service. She also prides herself in bringing a positive and caring attitude to everyone and everything she does. Carmen currently resides in Apple Valley with her husband and 2 children.

Amairani Guardado

Transaction Coordinator

Amairani Palacios is the Transaction Coordinator for our real estate team at Mesa! She is highly driven, motivated and bilingual. Her main role is to work with our real estate agents to ensure the administration side of a real estate transaction runs smoothly during the escrow process. She enjoys what she does and is constantly looking to learn and improve her skills as a transaction coordinator.

Amairani is currently going to school to obtain an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice. When she is not working or attending school, she enjoys spending time with her three daughters and her family. She enjoys coaching youth soccer and being outdoors.

DRE 02049281

Michael Melendez

Real Estate Manager

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