Service of Notices

Now that the landlord has created a legally sufficient notice, he must serve it upon the tenant in a legally sufficient manner. Otherwise, it’s like the notice never happened. One important point is that the landlord should make a photocopy of the notice prior to serving it. This will allow the landlord to attach a copy of the notice to the unlawful detainer complaint in case eviction is necessary.

The landlord or anyone else over eighteen may serve the notice. The landlord need only serve one person whose name appears on the list, but it is better to serve each occupant if possible.

The methods of service are also very important. Personal service—where the landlord literally hands the tenant a copy of the notice—is optimal. If the landlord cannot personally serve the tenant, then he may serve the notice upon another adult at the tenant’s home or work, and then mail a copy of it to the tenant. If this fails, then the landlord may “nail and mail” the notice by attaching a copy to the tenant’s front door while mailing another copy. Service under the latter two methods is considered complete on the date of mailing.

Regardless of the method of service, the landlord should immediately fill out a “proof of service” form describing the time, place, and manner of service. This form should be available alongside the notice form itself.

Landlords should remember that the notice period begins the day after completion of service, and that the final day must fall on a business day. The unlawful detainer complaint may then be filed if necessary the day after the final day.