California  |  Landlord & Tenant Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 5/17/13, 2:00 pm

i was served a three day pay or quit,then an amended 3 day,both had $200.late fees included in the rent owed. Are these notices valid? What is the law on this.I said it was improper service on my 5 day unlawful detainer return answer am i right if so do they have to resubmit the services properly from the start?

1 Answer

Answered on: 5/17/13, 8:21 pm by Robert F. Cohen

You might want to avail yourself of the services of a legal clinic. Many courts have these at the courthouse or nearby. You haven't shown why service was improper. Instead, you might have an affirmative defense because late fees, utility bills, and interest are not considered delinquent rent unless specified as such in the rental agreement. Thus, the three-day notice might have overstated the rent due causing a fatal defect in the eviction proceeding. You might have to seek the court's permission to file an amended answer and then raise your defense either in a motion for summary judgment or at trial. Usually, the landlord will then realize the error, will dismiss the case before trial, serve a new three-day notice, and start over.

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