Proper Service of Notices in California
A landlord's 3-day, 30-day, or 60-day notice to a tenant must be "served" properly to be legally effective. The terms "serve" and "service" refer to procedures required by the law. These procedures are designed to increase the likelihood that the person to whom notice is given actually receives the notice.
A landlord can serve a 3-day Eviction Notice on the tenant in one of three ways: by personal service, by substituted service, or by posting and mailing. The landlord, the landlord's agent, or anyone over 18 can serve a notice on a tenant.
A landlord can use any of these methods to serve a 30-day or 60-day notice on a tenant, or can send the notice to the tenant by certified or registered mail with return receipt requested.
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Serve an Eviction Notice Personally
To serve you personally, the person serving the eviction notice must hand you the notice (or leave it with you if you refuse to take it). The 3-day period begins the day after you receive the notice.
Substituted Service on Another Person
If the landlord can't find you at home, the landlord should try to serve you personally at work. If the landlord can't find you at home or at work, the landlord can use "substituted service" instead of serving you personally.
To comply with the rules on substituted service, the person serving the notice must leave the notice with a person of "suitable age and discretion" at your home or work and also mail a copy of the notice to you at home. A person of suitable age and discretion normally would be an adult at your home or workplace, or a teenage member of your household.
Service of the notice is legally complete when both of these steps have been completed. The 3-day period begins the day after both steps have been completed.
Posting and Mailing to Serve an Eviction Notice
If the landlord can't serve the notice on you personally or by substituted service, the notice can be served by taping or tacking a copy to the rental unit in a conspicuous place (such as the front door of the rental unit) and by mailing another copy to you at the rental unit's address. (This service method is commonly called "posting and mailing" or "nailing and mailing.")
Service of the notice is not complete until the copy of the notice has been mailed. The 3-day period begins the day after the notice was posted and mailed.