Fair Housing Foundation’s Tip of the Month: Responding to Landlord Notices (and tips for landlords on how to serve a notice)

From the Fair Housing Foundation – their “Tip of the Month”…

Visit www.fairhousingfoundation.com for more information…

Responding to Notices

Tenants:

Receiving a notice from your landlord can be a very stressing occurrence. It is of the upmost importance that responding to the notice takes priority and that you respond as soon as possible to resolve the issue. If you have questions about your notice, call us at 1-800-446-FAIR and a housing counselor will be able to discuss it with you.

There are many types of notices, below are two types of notices that you would need to respond to:

3 day Pay or Quit- If you have an outstanding amount of late rent owed to your landlord, you may receive this type of notice. This means that you have three business days after you have been served to pay your owed debt or you must move out within those three days to avoid eviction. The amount on the notice must be the actual amount owed in rent not, including late fees or any other charge. When paying off the debt owed, make sure to obtain a receipt.

3 Day Perform or Quit- If there has been a breach in the terms of your lease agreement or property rules, you may be given this notice. This means you have three business days to comply or voluntarily move out.

If you don’t contact your landlord and resolve the issue by the end of the three day period or move out of your unit (Quit), your landlord may start the eviction process by filing an unlawful detainer through the court. Eviction is a process that involves a court order, in which you must move out of your unit or be forced out by the Sheriff’s department. If you are evicted this may stay on your credit report for 7-10 years and may make it much more difficult to be approved for another rental unit.

Once you receive an unlawful detainer, you do have FIVE business days to file a response with the court. Fair Housing Foundation does help our clients fill out this response for free, but we have limited appointments. The first day you receive this notice is the best time to call us at 1-800-446-FAIR. If you wait to respond, you may find that we do not have available appointments to help you and that other agencies may be unable to assist you. You may also miss your deadline due to courthouse early closures, congestion, and furloughs. If you do not file a response, a judgement of default may be entered against you.

Landlords:

When you have to serve a notice to a tenant, it is very important that it is properly served. If a notice is improperly served, then the notice is invalid and could potentially not be upheld. All notices need to be in writing and correctly filled out. Remember that you can only include late rent in a 3 day pay or quit notice. Outstanding deposits, late fees, utilities, etc. cannot be included. These fees would require different notices. There are several ways to properly serve a notice, you may choose one (1) of the following:

1. Serve the notice in person to the tenant
2. Leave the notice with someone living in the unit of suitable age and mail a copy of the notice
3. Attach the notice to the tenant’s door and mail a copy of the notice*.
4. Leave the notice with someone at the tenant’s workplace and mail a copy of the notice*.
*If you mail a copy of the notice, you must allow for an additional five days for delivery.

If you have any questions about this or any other rental housing issue, call our Housing Counselors at:  1-800-446-FAIR.  A Fair Housing Foundation staff will call you back and be to answer your inquiry or guide you with your situation within 2-4 hours (during business hours).

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