• when tenant becomes a tenant nuisance

When A Renter Becomes a Tenant Nuisance

A renter/tenant can become a tenant nuisance for many reasons. Tenants can make too much noise.  A tenant may be conducting illegal activity on the premises, be causing problems with the neighbors or be destroying property. When a tenant becomes a nuisance, they interfere with of the rights of others. From blasting music all night long, to holding weeknight parties, a disorderly tenant nuisance can be difficult to evict. 

What is a Tenant Nuisance?

Under California Civil Code Section 3479, a nuisance is: “Anything which is injurious to health, including, but not limited to, the illegal sale of controlled substances, or is indecent or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property, or unlawfully obstructs the free passage or use, in the customary manner, of any navigable lake, or river, bay, stream, canal, or basin, or any public park, square, street, or highway, is a nuisance.”

Landlords can impose rules and regulations that identify actions property managers can take when dealing with noisy tenants. Most landlords insert clauses into the rental agreement. These clauses require the tenant to agree to not engage in disruptive behavior. A lease or rental agreement can detail what constitutes a tenant nuisance such as being loud or disruptive. This makes sure renters know upfront what is expected of them while residing in the unit. A common clause in rental agreements is to state that all renters at a property have the right to “quiet enjoyment.” This means that all tenants should be respectful of one another.  Even though nuisance provisions may be included in the rental agreement, a tenant may decide to not uphold such obligations. Read on to learn more about what you can do when a tenant becomes a nuisance and how A People’s Choice can help you.

Actions to Take When A Tenant Becomes a Nuisance

California landlords have legal rights when dealing with a nuisance tenant. The following actions can be taken by a landlord or property manager when a tenant becomes a nuisance.

Request the Tenant to Cure the Nuisance

If a tenant becomes a tenant nuisance, the landlord should contact the tenant in-person about their behavior. In some cases, it is likely the tenant doesn’t realize there is a problem. If the tenant is being too noisy, they need to be made aware that the noise levels are disturbing the neighbors and those around them. It is best to take a friendly approach. Acting in a threatening matter almost always makes the situation worse.

Using a Three Day Notice For Nuisance Tenant in California

A California landlord can issue several types of three-day notices to tenants. Depending on the type of violation, the three-day notice can request (1) that the tenant correct the violation (or stop the nuisance behavior) or leave the rental unit, or (2) that the tenant leave and vacate the rental unit. For example, if the violation involves something that the tenant can correct such as stopping nuisance behavior or not paying rent, the notice must give the tenant the option to correct the violation.

A nuisance tenant who has been problematic over a prolonged period can be served with a cure and quit notice. Usually the tenant has previously been warned about their behavior. The notice will state the landlord is providing the renter a certain amount of time to stop the disruptive behavior. If the renter fails to stop the disruptive behavior, the landlord will have legal recourse to evict the tenant.

Three Day Notices for Breach of Rental Agreement

A cure and quit preliminary eviction notice can also be served when a tenant has failed to comply with a term of the rental agreement. A lease violation is different from the tenant being a nuisance. Lease violations are based on the tenant doing something prohibited by the lease, such as having a pet, or not paying the rent.  The tenant is given three days to cure the defect (in this example get rid of the pet or bring the rent current.) If the tenant fails to comply and cure the defect, they must vacate the premises. If the matter goes to court, the landlord must prove that the tenant was in breach of the lease when the notice was served and failed to stop the breach within the 3 day period.

Three Day Notice for Incurable Breach

A special three-day preliminary eviction notice to quit is served on the tenant if they don’t comply with a term of the rental agreement and, by law, they are not entitled to fix the breach. This usually occurs when the tenant commits a crime by conducting illegal activity on the property. In this situation, the tenant will be required to move out of the property within 3 days, with no option to remedy the problem.

Evict the Nuisance Tenant

Eviction usually occurs after the tenant has been provided fair notice to stop the nuisance behavior or cure the breach but does not do so. Proper notices must be served on the tenant before bringing an eviction claim. All notices must be in writing. Secondly, the notice must include the tenant’s full name and address of the rental property. The notice must state what clause of the lease the tenant violated. In addition, the notice must indicate the tenant has 3 days to fix the problem. Lastly, the notice must be signed by the landlord or his agent the date notice is provided.

In conclusion, it is important to remember that California landlords do have legal rights when dealing with a nuisance tenant.

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By |2018-01-18T15:46:50+00:00June 14th, 2016|Civil litigation, Real Property|10 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.


  1. STEVAN DWECK September 8, 2016 at 5:11 am - Reply

    Sandy: I have a commercial property on the NE corner of Melrose and Heliotrope in Los Angeles, 90029
    I am aware that your office is in Santa Barbara–my son Scott Dweck has used your services and speaks very highly of you and your staff.
    There is a good possibility that I may need your services with a tenant whose lease has expired who is “Holding Over”, not paying rent, in spite of the AIR Lease that states NO HOLDOVER. Is this something you can handle for me?

    • Sandy McCarthy September 14, 2016 at 10:16 pm - Reply

      Hi Stevan – I replied to you directly by email. I trust you received my message that our office does not, unfortunately, handle commercial eviction proceedings. I am so very sorry that we can not help you with this particular matter but please keep us in mind for other legal things that may come up.

  2. Lamar May 28, 2017 at 3:31 am - Reply

    Hello sandy. I have a question regarding a landlord telling a hoa that the lease is ending. Then the hoa is telling another homeowner the lease is ending. We are renting and the neighbors are complying about us. Does the landlord and hoa have the right to inform the other neighbor about our lease ending. Are we entitled to some privacy. Thank you.

    • Sandy McCarthy May 28, 2017 at 3:37 am - Reply

      Unfortunately our office cannot give you legal advice. Would suggest to talk to an attorney.

  3. Stephanie Reese June 24, 2018 at 8:47 am - Reply

    If I sign a 2 year lease with a tenant through section 8 and at the time of lease signing wasn’t aware of the having a dog and landlord agrees to one dog and the tenant head 2 dogs and cats and I wasn’t inform about the animals not do I have paperwork showing the animals have shots and been spayed and neutered. And the tenant is continuing complaining over issues that I’ve correct can u evict the tenant before the first month of tenancy

    • Sandy McCarthy June 24, 2018 at 6:09 pm - Reply

      Unfortunately we do not provide legal advice. If you need legal advice please contact lawyer.

  4. Nancy Holaday June 28, 2018 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    Hi Sandy
    I received a 3 day notice for nusance, the landlord towed my car twice, I did call him a f##* this is 400.00 later. Got the notice without allowing me to fix this problem with me. This is a seniors building & he wants me out


    • Sandy McCarthy July 1, 2018 at 6:23 pm - Reply

      Nancy – I would speak to a lawyer if you need legal advice regarding your rights and remedies regarding the situation.

  5. michelle March 1, 2019 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Hi Sandy, i lived in my apartment for 11 years now. we have a neighbor moved 5 years ago, constantly partying, loud music, beer cans and roaches (joint) on common areas. I can almost predict their fight, as soon as hear them partying hours later their fighting, landlords are aware but they refuse to do anything, also, no pets and they have a cat and small dog. Its so annoying living here, i work my ass off and i come to this. Please let me know what we can do. thank you.

    • Sandy McCarthy March 8, 2019 at 6:08 am - Reply

      Try talking to your landlord about the nuisance. If that doesn’t help, you may want to contact a lawyer or move.

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