Once you have decided that your tenant needs to go, depending upon the type of notice, you usually need to give them a reason why they are being evicted. For example, if they are not paying their rent, you can give them a “three-day notice to quit or pay rent”. This is the most common type of notice. California Code of Civil Procedure 1161 gives an overview of the requirements for a three-day notice to quit or pay rent.
The requirement of notice is the one area where landlords and even lawyers are very likely to make a mistake which can stop the eviction process. Everything flows from the notice. It’s rather like a foundation for a house. If the foundation is not solid, the house will collapse. For example, if the amount of rent requested is not exactly correct, the notice will be declared invalid and will subject your complaint for unlawful detainer (explained later) to what is called a “demurrer”. Local legal aid offices will often draft up a simple demurrer for free. If the demurrer is granted, you have to issue a new notice.
Another example of bad notice is when the landlord gives a “three day notice to quit” when rent is due. Because the landlord has not given the tenant an alternative to getting evicted, but is using nonpayment of rent as the reason, this notice would be invalid. It MUST be a “three-day notice quit or pay rent”. You must also tell them where they can pay the rent, when and to whom. If you don’t, it can be subject to a demurrer.