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Notice to Quit: Template & Guidelines to Follow

January 16, 2020

Is one of your tenants violating a clause of the lease? Whether it be excessive noise, rent past due, an unauthorized pet, or the presence of an individual whose name isn’t on the lease agreement, you have options. There are several steps of recourse in this kind of scenario.

An effective strategy for dealing with a lease violation is to serve your tenant a notice to quit letter. This is a legal document. It paves the foundation for future eviction proceedings should the tenant refuse to fix the violation. 

Keep reading to find out exactly what such a letter is meant to communicate. We’ll also explain when and how to serve it, and the protections it provides you with legal proceedings.

What is a Notice to Quit Letter?

A notice to quit letter is a formal letter that you can send to a tenant. In this legal document, you outline the lease violation. You offer the tenant a certain amount of days to mend the broken rules before beginning the process of eviction.

Laws differ from state to state. However, typically, you must send a notice to quit letter before filing an eviction notice. 

Whether you’re legally bound to serve this document or not, it’s a good idea to do so when you are seriously considering eviction proceedings. It adds a layer of accountability and documentation on your end. That’ll stand in court and protect your actions.

In any scenario, it is crucial to adhere to the agreements made within the current lease. Double-check all aspects of the signed agreement. Ensure that there isn’t a clause that could challenge the reason for serving the notice to quit. 

Additionally, brush up on individual state laws. Legal statutes when it comes to fixing a lease violation or initiating eviction processes differ from state to state. They even vary between individual cities. 

There’s likely a requirement for an appropriate delivery method. That could mean serving the notice in person, by certified mail, or by a state marshal.

When to Send a Notice to Quit Form

There are two categorical subsets that may call for a notice to quit.

  1. If your tenant is violating a clause of the lease.
  2. A factor unrelated to the tenant, such as the removal of the property from the rental market.

Whatever the reason may be, the most important component of a notice to quit letter is that you clearly state and elaborate on the reason why your tenant is receiving this document.

Such scenarios could be:

  1. Late Rent Payment
    Does your tenant owe you rent money, well past the due date and the grace period? Then it’s your right to serve them with a notice to quit letter. Stipulate a date by which they must pay the rent, or eviction proceedings will begin.
  2. Frequent Late Payments
    Is this not the first time your tenant has paid late? Is it a monthly headache for you to receive what they owe? This is another scenario in which a notice to quit could come in handy. Whether the letter stands as a motivating force that stops the tenant’s bad habit or if it leads to eviction, a notice to quit is the first step.
  3. Pets in a Pet-Free Buildings
    You happen to catch wind that there is an unauthorized pup living on the premises. No matter how adorable your tenant’s furry friend may be, if the lease explicitly expresses a no-pet policy, the dog shouldn’t be there. A notice to quit is the initial action toward giving your tenant a heads-up that you’re aware of the pet. It also outlines what recourse you want them to take to fix this violation before beginning eviction proceedings.
  4. Unhygienic Living Conditions
    Grime, dirt, and dust everywhere? If your tenant is not maintaining a decently clean, livable space, you can step in with a notice to quit. Excessive uncleanliness or unhygienic living conditions are reasons to evict a tenant. That’s because it could lead to damage to your property.
  5. Unauthorized Long-term Guests
    Noticing a few long-term guests at the property that you aren’t familiar with? Well, if you know there are people living in the property whose names aren’t on the lease agreement, a notice to quit is the first step. This allows them to move out or to remain at the tenant’s expense. Then, you can evict them if they don’t leave.
  6. Excessive Noise Complaints
    Excessive noise can be a nuisance, particularly in a multi-unit building. If a tenant is frequently the subject of noise complaints and is egregiously disrupting the living conditions of other tenants or neighbors, you can send them a notice to quit letter. 
  7. Tenant Staying After Lease Ends
    The lease ended, yet the tenant has not moved out of the property since the lease expired. In some cases, landlords may not find this problematic. They may just continue to accept rent payments. If this isn’t the case, however, the tenant is now reclassified as a trespasser. A notice to quit should let them know they need to move out as soon as possible. Otherwise, the landlord will initiate eviction processes.

What to Include in a Notice to Quit Form

1. First of all, you must include the names as they appear on the lease of all of the applicable, adult tenants who live on the property.

2. Include the address of the property, as well as the specific unit number if applicable. 

3. Don’t forget to date the letter, whether within the header, or within the body of the document. For example: “On this day, November 13th, 2019, you, [tenant name], are served with a notice to quit.” 

4. The most important aspect of the letter is the reason for which the rental agreement may end if the violation is not fixed. In the event that your tenant did not violate the lease agreement, but the property is being taken off of the market, the notice should state that reason. The notice should also disclose that the tenant must leave the premises by a specific date. 

5. After detailing the applicable violation, specify the number of days the tenant will have to fix the transgression. State and city statutes vary. However, 3-5 days is usually the minimum time frame a landlord must grant the tenant. 

6. Specify the date by which a tenant needs to move out of the property if they cannot resolve the problem. 

7. Finally, sign the document with your signature.

Notice to Quit Template

[Community Name]
[Street Address]
[City, State, Zip]
[Phone number and email address]

[Date]

[Tenant Name(s)]
[Tenant Street Address]
[Tenant Apartment Number]
[City, State, Zip]

Dear [Tenant First Name(s)] [Tenant Last Name(s)],

This Notice is to inform you have violated [lease term violated] of your rental agreement for [Property Address, Unit Number], signed on [lease date]. Your [lease date] rental agreement clearly states in [state section of lease containing the violated policy and exactly what was violated] that such behavior is not permitted. 

As of [date], you have [X] days to [reverse and/or remedy] such infraction or surrender possession of the premises to the landlord. If you choose to surrender, you must vacate the property by [date].

Should you not comply with this Notice, [Apartment Community and/or Landlord] has no choice but to commence the eviction process to recover possession of the premises at [Property Address, Unit Number]

Sincerely,

[Your (Landlord/Property Manager) Name]

Timeline for Notice to Quit

It’s important to remember that there are different timelines when it comes to serving a notice to quit. Here’s what you need to know.

3-Day Notice to Quit

A 72-hour notice is a short time frame. It’s best to use a 3-day notice to quit in the event that the clause of the lease that the client is violating is quickly remediable. 

As we discussed previously, such violations would include: 

  • The presence of a furry friend under a no-pet policy 
  • Unhygienic living conditions 
  • Excessive noise or nuisance 
  • A tenant whose name is not on the lease agreement. 

30-Day Notice to Quit

For month-to-month leases, landlords often use a 30-day notice to quit to end the tenancy. Such a notice doesn’t offer, necessarily, a path to correct any issue. 

It simply gives the tenant a heads-up that the landlord isn’t looking to renew the lease after the 30-day period has ended. It notifies the tenant that they need to move out by that time. If the tenant fails to do so, you can begin the eviction process.

60-Day Notice to Quit

If a tenant has lived in the property for more than a year, in most states you are required to give them a 60-day notice before ending the lease. 

Similar to the 30-day notice, this notice doesn’t pertain to any sort of lease violation. It serves to formally notify the tenant that they must move out once the 60-day period is over.

Final Thoughts

If you aren’t the owner of the property, you have to make sure that the landlord signs off on the notice to quit. They must also deliver the notice. 

State laws vary when it comes to the appropriate delivery method. Those range from in-person delivery, certified mail, or delivery by a state marshal. 

After the notice to quit is served, your tenant may respond in different ways. They can either obey or disregard the notice. 

Though you do not have control over their choices in this regard, you do have control over what follows after a tenant disregards a notice to quit.

If the tenant obeys the notice, they will either fix the issue at hand within the time frame specified, or move out before the given date. That way, they can avoid having an eviction on their record.

If the tenant disregards the notice, they’re likely trying to buy some time. They may not have any place else to go. 

Eviction processes can take more than a month to be completed. So, they know it may be to their advantage to wait for a formal eviction if they can’t vacate the premises. 

A tenant may also disregard the notice because they do not believe they have violated the lease and are willing to attest to that in court.

Finally, don’t forget to check your local statutes regarding the legal framework in which such a notice functions. Look into the requirements of the notice’s delivery, content, and timeliness.

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AUTHOR
Olyvia is a Content & Media Associate at Apartment List, working to bring Apartment List's vision to life. Olyvia has a BA in Media Studies from the University of Virginia. Read More
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