Changes to California’s Unlawful Detainer Action Response Times

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law Assembly Bill 2343, amending Sections 1161 and 1167 of the California Code of Civil Procedure to give tenants more time to respond to notices and summons in connection with unlawful detainer eviction proceedings.

Under current California law governing unlawful detainer actions:

  • A tenant has three calendar days following receipt of the landlord’s notice to cure a lease violation (e.g. pay rent or any other breach of lease) or vacate the leased premises.
  • A tenant has five calendar days following service of summons (personal service) to respond to an eviction lawsuit (i.e., an unlawful detainer action) filed by the landlord.

Assembly Bill 2343 amends the statute to extend a tenant’s 3-day and 5-day response periods in an unlawful detainer action to exclude Saturdays, Sundays, and other judicially observed holidays.

For example, under the current statute, a tenant that receives a 3-day notice to cure or vacate on the day before Thanksgiving would be required to respond by Monday. However, under the amended statute, the tenant would have until Wednesday to respond. Landlords should be aware of the new extended time periods when contemplating an unlawful detainer action.

Commercial landlords and tenants are free to modify the time periods required by statute when entering into leases and other contracts.  Accordingly, if the lease provides the tenant with a longer response time than is required under the revised statute (for example, 10 calendar days), then the lease provision will control.  In contrast, if the lease provides the tenant with a shorter response time (for example, 3 calendar days), then the longer response period under the revised statute will control.


The amendment to the statute becomes effective September 1, 2019.


Landlords should be aware that the list of holidays recognized by California courts may be different from the holidays landlords are accustomed to in their leases.  Per the California Judicial Branch website, the following holidays are observed each year by all California courts:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • President Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday
  • President George Washington’s Birthday / Presidents Day
  • César Chávez Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Day after Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Day