You’re a renter. You walk home from work one day and there’s a conspicuous piece of paper taped to the door with big, bolded words across the top: NOTICE etc.
If you haven’t been paying your rent, this may not be unexpected. Or maybe this is the first time you’ve missed a rent payment and you thought your landlord would work with you. Instead, you’ve got a notice on the door and it’s threatening some serious business. Our advice? PAY ATTENTION TO IT!
Sometimes, tenants will get a notice—whether it’s taped to the door or delivered in person—and it just doesn’t look very official. It kind of looks like a form the landlord downloaded from a random website. But please believe us, it can mean very serious things in very short order.
The most common type of notice that tenants will get—generally when they haven’t paid rent—is the “Three-day Pay or Vacate.” This notice means essentially what it says: you have three days to either pay your landlord the rent that’s owed or to get the heck out of there.
The landlord can “serve” the notice in any one of a number of ways: (a) she can deliver it (or have it delivered) personally to the tenant; (b) she can mail it by certified or registered mail; (c) she can leave a copy of the notice at the residence “with a person of suitable age;” or (d) she can affix it in a “conspicuous place,” usually the door.
Once the three-day notice is served, the tenant has—you guessed it—three days to comply with the notice. The timer is running. The day after the notice is served is Day 1. If the notice was served on Monday, then Tuesday is Day 1, and by Thursday you must have paid or vacated the premises. As an important note, this three-day notice? It means calendar days—NOT business days. And landlords know this. They’re a wily bunch, and they know that if they serve the notice on a Thursday, then Day 3 is a Sunday. Landlords are awfully hard to track down on a Sunday.
But what if you didn’t pay or leave by Day 3? Well, then on Day 4, landlord gets to file the Complaint. The Complaint is the eviction lawsuit. As soon as this document is filed with a court, you have an eviction on your record. You do not want this. Trust me.
Also on Day 4, there’s a tricky little thing called Treble Damages. Treble is a fancy word for triple. For every day that you don’t leave after Day 3, your pro-rated rent for that day is tripled. If your rent is $1,000/month, then your normal, pro-rated rent per day is around $32. After Day 3, that goes up to around $100 per day under Treble Damages. If you stay for an extra week? $700. And courts do enforce this. Like clockwork.
Essentially, that innocent-looking notice on the door sets in motion a chain of events that can empty your savings and ruin your credit. That’s why, if you see one of those tacked to the door, PAY ATTENTION to it. And call us. Right away. If we act fast, there’s a lot that can be done to avoid the serious consequences of an eviction. Don’t wait until Day 3. Call us immediately.