Combined Eviction Notices Can Cause Problems

California law requires eviction notices (called “notices to quit”) to unambiguously terminate tenancy upon expiration of a time period specified in the notice. These periods can vary based on the type of tenancy. For example, an owner after foreclosure may be evicted with a 3-day notice to quit. However, if the property also has a renter under a bona fide lease, that occupant may necessitate a 90-day notice to quit to that occupant (under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1161c and the Federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act). Many eviction practitioners have developed “combined” notices to quit that are meant to be a catch all for anyone in the property (e.g. a combined 3-day and 90-day notice). Furthermore, some of the 90-day notices have requirements that any occupants who claim a tenancy under a bona fide lease provide evidence of the lease to the evicting party.

Trial courts have been striking down such combined notices, finding that these type of notices are uncertain and confusing because they reference several timeframes and failed to unambiguously terminate tenancy at a particular time. (See, e.g. E Trade Bank vs Joe Salter et al., Santa Barbara County Superior Court Case No. 1372298 [demurrer sustained on grounds that combined 3-day/90-day notice with requirement to provide proof of bona fide lease is ineffective notice].)

Accordingly, it is very important for the owner after a foreclosure to determine the best they can who is in the property. Separate, and very clear eviction notices must be drafted and directed to particular identified occupants at the property. Failure to do so may result in successful challenges to the eviction, and unnecessary delays in obtaining the final eviction.

Spiwak & Iezza can assist with complicated evictions to minimize challenges, and to expedite the final eviction. Please give us a call to discuss any eviction questions you may have.