Question: How many days late does the rent have to be before a Landlord can issue a 3-Day Notice ?
Answer: A 3-Day Notice can be issued 1 day after the “due date.”
Explaination: Most Landlords and Tenants mistakenly believe that the Landlord must wait until the “grace period” regarding the application of late fees is over before they can issue a 3-Day Notice. Fortunately, this is not the case. Landlords must first read the Rental Agreement. So long as rent is “due” on the first of the month under the terms of the Rental Agreement, the Landlord can issue a 3-Day Notice on the 2nd of the month, even though rent is not “late” until the 5th of the month (i.e., “late fees” are not imposed until the 5th of the month).
Commentary: In my opinion, this problem is a result of the bad drafting of the rental agreement. For reasons unknown, drafters of rental agreements typically include a 3 or 5 day “grace period” before “late fees” are applied. It is most likely that these drafters never owned a piece of rental property. In my experience as a Landlord, if you give Tenants until the 5th of the month before “late fees” become due, they usually will not pay until the 5th of the month. In addition to giving the Tenant 4 days of free rent (should you have to eventualy file an eviction), this creates confusion between Landlords and Tenants. Some Tenants sincerely believe that the Landlord can not issue a 3-Day Notice until the rent is “late” (i.e., paid after the 3rd or 5th on the month depending on the Rental Agreement). Consequently, these Tenants will not promptly respond to a 3-Day Notice issued on the 2nd of the month.
Remedial Action: I counsel my clients to not allow any “grace period” before “late fees” become due and payable to the Landlord as additional rent. In other words, rent should be “due” on the 1st and “late” on the 2nd.