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Monday, August 23, 2010

Eviction Notice Served via Email - Will That Work?

That depends... In a recent California Appellate Case the issue of giving notice by email came into question.

In Culver Center Partners East #1, L.P. v. Baja Fresh Westlake Village, 185 Cal. App. 4th 744 (2010), the court found that the landlord in a commercial lease had failed to give proper notice of failure to pay rent to the tenant even though the tenant admitted receiving notice of default from the landlord by email.

The signed lease provided for the notice by hand delivery, regular mail, and facsimile. In an apparent effort to to keep pace with technology, the lease also allowed for notice by Email.

The court found that notice was not properly given and the default must start over. The court cited that even thought the lease had an electronic transmission provision; the provision was not specific enough to satisfy the court that actual notice was given. Had the lease provision actually listed the tenants email notification address and the landlord could show that it the email was delivered to the physical address designated in the lease the electronic notice provision would have been sufficient.

Moral of the story if you are going to have an electronic notice provision in your lease be sure to consult counsel who should be able to draft language that makes clear that electronic notice via email is effective whether or not addressee actually opens or reads the email notice and any attachments.