Legal Question in Civil Litigation in California

Can I terminate the tenancy with my tenants who have signed a one year residential lease due to frequent payment of the rent late?

If yes, what procedure I should follow?

Thank you.

Asked on 5/11/13, 9:24 am

4 Answers from Attorneys

Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen

After the next rent payment is due, you might immediately serve a three-day notice to pay or quit. If the tenant does not pay within the three day period, you should not accept rent and might begin the unlawful detainer process with the local court. Of course, the tenant might claim that because you consistently accepted the late rent you might have waived the immediate payment. Depending on how long you've been accepting late rent, you might instead first send a warning letter/e-mail (and save a copy), and then serve the notice the next month if late.

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Answered on 5/11/13, 9:34 am

Charles Perry Law Offices of Charles R. Perry

Frequent payment of late rent is not grounds for terminating the lease if the rent is current. Mr. Cohen's advise is solid in terms of what to do after the next late payment.

You may also have rights to terminate the lease for no reason at all, just as you would a month-to-month lease. You need to check the terms of the lease to find out.

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Answered on 5/11/13, 9:43 am
Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

I disagree with Mr. Perry on two counts. 1. Chronic late rent payment IS grounds for terminating a lease, but it is tricky and a judgement call for the court as to whether it is chronic ENOUGH to justify eviction. If you have not given at least several warnings, and not given the three-day notices to pay or quit as soon as the rent is late, do NOT count on a judge finding the problem to be bad enough to terminate the lease. Start by giving them a warning that late rent will not be tolerated anymore. Serve a three-day notice EVERY time the rent is one day late. If you consistently have to do that and the rent consistently does not come in until day 2 or 3, you will then have a case for terminating the lease. 2. Mr. Perry is absolutely wrong that you can ever terminate a one-year term lease for no reason the way you can a month to month, unless the year is up. So that is your other option. Put up with this until the year is up and then at least 30 and better 60 days before it runs out put them on notice that the lease will not be renewed or extended and they have to be out at the end.

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Answered on 5/11/13, 11:16 am
Anthony Roach Law Office of Anthony A. Roach

You better make sure the property is not subject to rent control. Rent controlled ordinances tend to limit the grounds upon which an eviction can be based.

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Answered on 7/19/13, 12:59 pm

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