Commercial landlords and tenants are likely familiar with Civil Code section 1951.3, which allowed a landlord to trigger lease termination due to tenant abandonment based on a written Notice of Belief of Abandonment. The Notice could only be served if rent was due and unpaid for 14 consecutive days, and then the termination date of the lease specified in the Notice could be no less than 15 days after personal service of the notice or 18 days if the notice was served by mail.

The new law, codified at Civil Code section 1951.35, makes a few changes to the abandonment process for commercial leases. First, the Notice can now be served after rent has been due and unpaid for at least the number of days required for the landlord to declare a rent default under the lease, but in no case less than three days. Second, service of the Notice is now authorized by overnight courier service. Third, the date of termination of the lease is now a flat 15 days after service of the Notice, regardless of how service is completed.

The new law, effective January 1, 2019, means that commercial landlords have a more expedited method of pursuing the remedy of abandonment.

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