Starting September 1, 2019, tenants in California will get a little extra time to respond to eviction notices and unlawful detainers. Governor Brown just signed into law AB 2343, which changes how time periods are counted for responding to curable notices to quit and unlawful detainers so that weekend days and judicial holidays are not counted.
Under current law, a tenant who receives a three-day notice to pay rent or quit or a three-day notice to cure a lease violation or quit must respond within three calendar days, even if those days fall on a weekend or holiday. For example, if a tenant is served with a three-day notice to pay rent or quit on a Friday, that tenant must pay rent by Monday in order to avoid the risk of an unlawful detainer. Because a termination notice does not have to be personally served, the tenant often does not even see the notice the day it is posted. They may return home from a weekend away and see a notice that was posted on Friday night, and have little or no time to respond.
When the new law takes effect, the three days in which a tenant must respond will not include weekend days or judicial holidays. In the above example, if a tenant is served with a three-day notice to pay rent or quit on a Friday, the tenant would have until Wednesday to respond because Saturday and Sunday would not be counted in the three days. This should reduce the effectiveness of one of the common tactics employed by unscrupulous landlords that make it difficult for tenants to respond to three-day notices.
Also, under current law, a tenant who is personally served with an unlawful detainer must respond within five calendar days, not including judicial holidays but including weekend days. Under the new law, weekend days will also be excluded in the counting of the five days to respond. For example, under the old law, a tenant personally served with an unlawful detainer on Wednesday evening would have to file a response by Monday or risk a default judgment. It is often difficult to find a lawyer on such short notice. And it can be difficult to prepare a thorough response in such a short time, especially if the tenant wants to file a demurrer or motion to quash. Under the new law, the tenant personally served on a Wednesday would have until the next Wednesday to file a response. This will give the tenant a better chance to find a lawyer and present a proper response to the unlawful detainer.
The law does not affect how days are counted for noncurable notices to quit, for example, a three-day notice to quit for nuisance.