The Perfect 30-Day Notice (from Tenant to Landlord)

Sometimes it’s dreamy, sometimes it’s not.

For whatever the reason may be, your tenants gave you a 30-Day Notice of their intention to move out of your property. They may be in the middle of a lease, or they may be in a month to month agreement. 

Either way, you need to determine two things:

  1. Is the 30-Day Notice “good?”, and
  2. Are you willing to accept it?


Part I. Is the 30-Day Notice “good?” (and what does it mean to have a “good” 30-day notice?)

This is of utmost importance. Oftentimes, tenants give you a document that both you and they consider a notice, but it may not be valid. A notice is valid when an owner is able to start an eviction based on the notice that was given to the landlord, in the event that the tenants don’t move out as agreed. If the owner doesn’t have the potential to start an eviction, then the notice is not good.

This is the criteria that goes into a valid termination notice that a Tenant has given a Landlord:

  1. It’s signed by all the adults in the property. This is the most complicated piece that most people miss, and ultimately makes most notices invalid. An “adult” is someone who is over the age of 18 or someone whose age you cannot confirm. “All adults” means:a. All adults who signed the rental agreementb. All adults who are on the lease as occupantsc. All children who are adults and/or have become adults during the tenancyd. Possibly all adults occupants who were named on the rental application as potential tenants. If you have no idea who was listed on the rental application and you’re not sure if they’re living in the property or not, you need to have them sign it. If you know for a fact that none of the proposed occupants are living there, then you do not need to name them.e. All adults whose names you know that have moved into the property, but their names were not written on the application or rental agreement.f. All adults who have ever paid the rent on behalf of the occupants in the property. Yes, these adults have the right to live in the property and can claim they live there UNLESS they gave you a separate notice stating they “are not claiming right to possession of the premises.”g. Any adults that already moved out. For example, if a tenant already moved out of the property, he needs to issue his own separate 30 day notice, or else he is still responsible for the current tenancy.
  2. It clearly states the last day the tenants will be in the property. If it doesn’t have the last day, then at a minimum it needs to have the date the notice was given to you AND the exact number of days they will be out, both written out on the notice, so that there is a clear last day of tenancy. If it does not have either of the above, it is not valid. An estimate such as “I’ll be out by the end of the month” or “I’m looking for a place” or “I’ll be out when my kids are out of school for summer” are NOT valid end dates, and therefor are not valid notices.
  3. IT MUST BE IN WRITING. It cannot be verbal, it cannot be in passing, it cannot be a conversation, it cannot be during an argument. It must be in writing on a piece of paper. I know what’s next: What about receiving a notice by text or email? This deserves its own section; see below.
  4. The Landlord has not accepted rent past the end date listed in the termination notice. If this happens, it cancels the notice that was served. If a tenant needs to stay an extra week and the landlord agrees, then put the details about the extension in writing, have all tenants sign it, and then you can accept any extra rent. Negotiating outside of a written agreement will end up hurting the Landlord in the long run.

What happens if the requirements above are not in the notice?

  1. We can’t start your eviction if there isn’t a clear end date. Make sure it is crystal clear what the end date is for tenants to be out of the property. 
  2. You may get through an entire eviction, and one person could try to claim that they live there and that they did not give the notice to leave in the first place. If this happens, the Sheriff will NOT do the lockout on that one individual if they can prove they live there, and you’ll need to start your eviction all over again with a new notice. This is why the notice being “good” and “valid” is of utmost importance at the beginning; in order to not waste time and money. 

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Part II. Are you willing to accept it (and what happens if a Landlord doesn’t accept the notice?)

If a Landlord receives a notice that does not meet the qualification standards above, then the Landlord can reject it and reply with an itemized list of what the notice must require. To consolidate the above information, this is what the Landlord can ask the tenant to provide in a notice:

  • That it’s in writing,
  • Has a clear “last day” of the tenancy written on the notice,
  • Is signed by all adults who live in the property, who signed the lease, or who have ever paid rent.

It’s important to note that even if the Landlord does not accept the notice, the tenant still may move out regardless. You don’t have a problem if the tenant moves out willingly. You DO have a problem if the tenant doesn’t end up moving out and gave you a “bad” 30-Day Notice because you can’t start the eviction based on this notice.

Most of the time, when a tenant gives a landlord a 30-Day Notice and doesn’t end up moving out, it’s also directly related to how much rent the tenant owes. See my blog post My Tenant is Behind on Rent and Gave Me a 30 Day Notice. What Do I Do? for details about what to do in that scenario, so you are prepared to take immediate action with a tenant that owes you rent and isn’t moving out.

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FAQ’S ON THIS TOPIC:

What happens if a tenant gave a landlord their 30-day notice then changed their mind?

Once a tenant serves a Landlord a notice, it cannot be retracted unless both parties agree to it. The only exception to this is if the landlord accepts rent after the 30 day time period in the notice ends. Once it ends, if the landlord accepts rent, it cancels the 30-Day Notice.

Is a notice valid if it’s given by text or email?

Maybe. It is valid if it still follows all of the requirements in Part I, ESPECIALLY item 1, which is the section that most landlords ignore. If one tenant gives you notice by text or email in a household of four adults (based on the criteria in Item 1(a)-(g) above), then it is imperative that the other three adult tenants also give you the same notice. If you only hear from one tenant via text or email, then only that one tenant is giving you notice that they are moving out. No, it does not matter if they sent it by email and cc’d the other tenants. No, it does not matter if they sent a group text message and included the other tenants. It is only valid if each of the adults occupants gave you notice as well, if by text or by email.

Important note regarding Landlords serving notices to Tenants: Text or email notices are NEVER okay for a Landlord to give to a tenant. However, the law in California benefits the tenant, and the assumption is that tenants don’t have the tools to know the difference between what should be done and shouldn’t be done, so landlords are held to a higher standard than tenants. Tenants can give notice via text or email. Landlords cannot give notice via text or email. It is, however, up to the Landlord to decide if they want to accept the termination notice or not.

What about tenants who are in the middle of a lease who give a 30-day notice?

Let them out of it. Honestly, do you really want to start an eviction against someone who says they’re moving out? I know you’re frustrated that they are exiting the lease early, but if they don’t want to be there, chances are that it will save you a lot of headache in the future to let them out of the lease early.

If they do leave early, and you refuse to let them out of the lease, then they are only obligated to pay you the rent until you are able to re-rent the property. Be careful here, and do not increase the rent, and make sure you list the property on all the sites you did before. If you do intend to sue them later on for the money due to you in between their departure and your new tenant moving in, the burden of proof is on you, and you will need to prove to a judge that:

  1. You were doing everything in your power to rerent the property for a reasonable rate,
  2. You were listing it on all the same sites you listed it before when you placed your current tenant
  3. You did not remove the property from the market and hold onto it because it was easier to keep collecting rent checks from the tenant on a vacant property than it was to try to rent it out.

It truly is easier to let the tenant out of a lease, but you do have rights if you don’t want to go that route.

Who wants to waste time and money on a case that has the potential to go wrong? Not me, and definitely not you, so be sure to follow these guidelines the next time a tenant gives you a termination notice to help determine your options and best course of action as you move forward.

Hi, I’m Anne-Michelle! How can I help?

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MEET YOUR EVICTION SPECIALIST

Hi there, I'm Anne-Michelle Frances, founder of Blueprint Evictions.

With over 18 years of experience as a Senior Paralegal working alongside my father, Daniel T. Paris, a seasoned Bay Area eviction attorney, I gained invaluable insights into the complexities of landlord-tenant law. When he retired in 2023, I embarked on a mission to empower landlords like you to navigate California’s stringent tenant-favored laws with confidence. At Blueprint Evictions, we’re dedicated to providing landlords with the tools and resources they need to effectively manage their properties and protect their investments while remaining in compliance with California law. Click below to learn more about my journey and how Blueprint Evictions can support you.

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Hi, I’m Anne-Michelle! How can I help?