In landlord-tenant law, a three-day notice is a notice served to tenants, who are delinquent in rent, demanding for the rent amount or to vacate the premises. Issuing a three-day notice requires proper service, and jurisdictions often have guidelines as to what constitutes as such. For example, in California, a three-day notice may be delivered (1) by delivering a copy to the tenant personally; (2) but if the tenant is absent from their place of residence, and from their usual place of business, by leaving a copy with some person of suitable age and discretion at either place, and sending a copy through the mail addressed to the tenant at their place of residence; or (3) if such place of residence and business cannot be ascertained, or a person of suitable age or discretion can not be found, then by affixing a copy in a conspicuous place on the property, and delivering a copy to a person residing there, as well as sending a copy through the mail addressed to the tenant at the place where the property is situated. Generally, mailing a three-day notice to the tenant alone is an insufficient means of service and will render the notice unenforceable.
Additionally, states generally have standards for the information that must be in three-day notices. For example, California's Code of Civil Procedure requires that three-day notices include, among other things, the amount due, and the name, telephone number, and address of the person to whom the rent payment shall be made. Moreover, the notice must generally be served by the landlord themself. However, jurisdictions like New York have held that a lessor may authorize an agent to issue a three-day notice on their behalf. However, the notice must be accompanied by the lessor's written authorization.
A three-day notice is generally the first step to a detainer action. Indeed, jurisdictions like California, Ohio, and Texas have statutory requirements mandating that proper service on the lessee of a valid three-day notice is an essential prerequisite to filing a forcible entry and detainer suit. However, three-day notices that fail to satisfy service or information requirements are invalid and therefore cannot support a lessor's claim for subsequent detainer action.
Lastly, a three-day notice does not necessarily eliminate the obligations of a lessee to pay rent for the remainder of the term. For example, in Ohio, even if the tenant vacates, they may still be liable for rent until the lessor, using the lessor's best efforts, secures a new tenant. However, if the lessor accepts future rental payments (as opposed to rent that is past due), a previously issued three-day notice is automatically waived, as well as any subsequent action for possession based on that notice.
[Last updated in September of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]