Serving proper notice on a tenant is generally a prerequisite to filing a Forcible Entry and Detainer action. Generally, the proper service of notice is "jurisdictional." This means that if you don't do it correctly, the Judge will have no choice but to dismiss your lawsuit. You will then have to start all over again. The following is a brief summary of the types of notices which can be served on a non-compliant tenant.
5 Day Notice: This type of notice is served when a tenant is behind in the payment of rent. It provides that if all amounts are not paid within 5 days, the landlord will terminate the lease. It is important that the landlord not accept anything less than full payment of all amounts which are due and owing during this 5 day period unless very specific steps are followed. Partial payments may void the 5 day notice.
10 Day Notice: When a default is made in any of the terms of the lease, it is not necessary to give more than 10 days notice of the landlord's intent to terminate the lease. This type of notice can be used in cases where a tenant engaged in behavior which disturbs the peace, damages property or otherwise is prohibited under the terms of the lease.
30 Day Notice: This notice is used to terminate a tenant who is occupying the premises on a month to month basis, or whose lease term is close to expiration. In addition, a 30 day notice is required in order to evict a unit owner who is delinquent in the payment of condominium assessments.