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Using a Professional Process Server to Deliver a 3-Day Notice to Quit

John A. DeMarr PI

The eviction process in the State of California is a complicated one, requiring the filing of a suit of unlawful detainer against the delinquent tenant.

To have service effectuated properly, a landlord should always engage a professional process server.

A landlord should always engage a professional process server…

The first step in the suit is the delivery to the tenant of a 3-day notice to pay or to vacate the premises. The notice is the first step in the unlawful detainer suit, which cannot be filed unless the notice has been served (and its term has expired.)

Although anyone is eligible to serve the 3-day notice, there are considerable advantages in having the job done by a professional process server.

The principal advantage is that the service of the 3-day notice has to be performed correctly. Defective service is the first thing the tenant’s attorneys will look for, and will almost certainly result in the court’s rejection of the unlawful detainer suit. There are even cases in which defective service led to protracted lawsuits that ended with the landlord needing to pay enormous attorneys’ fees.

California does require that servers of process be registered, but the requirement to use a registered service of process does not apply to the landlord’s 3-day notice. The peculiarity in this requirement is that service of the notice does need to be made in accordance with the regular rules of process service, meaning that having someone (anyone) over the age of 18 deliver the notice amounts to sending an amateur to do a professional’s job.

To have service effectuated properly, a landlord should always engage a professional process server. (Given the complexity of the laws for unlawful detainer, a landlord should always engage an attorney as well.) The professional will guarantee that service is effectuated properly, and represents money well spent. The professional will also provide a proper Proof of Service that can be used in court. (The professional process server can also appear in court to testify that service was effectuated properly; his testimony will obviously carry more weight than that of a non-professional.)

Service of process is always a delicate operation. It only takes only one false move for any court case to collapse. Unlawful detainer is no exception to the rule, and ought to be initiated, like any other legal action, with service effectuated by a professional.

If you are in need of a process server to assist with a 3-day notice to quit, or if you have any questions about how a professional can help with unlawful detainer complaints, please contact my office at 877-433-6277. You can also email me at

John A. DeMarr PI