How long after a rent payment is due, do I wait to sue a tenant if they don’t pay?

UPDATED: Jan 17, 2012

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How long after a rent payment is due, do I wait to sue a tenant if they don’t pay?

We had a verbal agreement on the deposit policy when he moved in. Now he refuses to admit it and uses it as an excuse not to pay the rent. BTW, he is not planning to move out, either.

Asked on January 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you want your tenant to remain in the rental and not evict him for unpaid rent, you can sue him immediately if rent is due. If you want to evict him once and for all, you need to serve him with a 30 day notice of termination of the lease and wait until he vacates before suing him for unpaid rent.

If he fails to vacate in the time period, you file an unlawful detainer action seeking his eviction and unpaid rent.

If you might want him to stay, but really want the rent paid, you serve him with a 3 day notice to pay rent or quit. If he does not pay the owed rent in the 3 day period, you then file an unlawful detainer action against him and serve it on him.

You might wish to consult with a landlord tenant attorney to assist you in your matter.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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