Serving a Tenant a Notice to Quit

Purpose of Notice and Process for Delivering It

Picture of Serving a Tenant a Notice to Quit
••• Image Source RF/Cadalpe/Getty Images

As a landlord, you must understand the proper procedures for dealing with tenant issues. Sometimes, this involves serving the tenant with a legal document. When a tenant has broken the terms of their lease, a landlord has the right to send them a Notice to Quit. Learn the basics of this notice including reasons for serving notice, when to serve it and how to properly deliver it.

What Is a Notice to Quit?

A Notice to Quit is a formal landlord tenant document. Before you can file to evict a tenant, you must serve them with a Notice to Quit. This Notice informs them that they have “X” number of days to vacate the property or you will begin eviction proceedings against them.

Why Should You Give a Tenant a Notice to Quit?

There are a number of reasons you can serve a tenant with a Notice to Quit. A Notice to Quit can be given because a tenant violated a clause in the lease agreement or through no fault of the tenant, such as the property is being retired from residential use.

Whatever the reason is that you are filing the Notice to Quit, it must be clearly spelled out in the Notice. Failure to present a tenant with a Notice to Quit is a common eviction mistake landlords make.

Who Should Be Named on the Notice to Quit?

When serving a tenant a Notice to Quit, you must make sure to include the proper tenants on the Notice. All adult members who live in the unit should be named on the Notice.

You must also:

  • Indicate the address of the property,
  • The floor on which the apartment is located and
  • The exact unit number in which the tenants reside.
  • The landlord, or a representative of the landlord, must sign and date this Notice.

How Do You Serve a Notice to Quit?

Every state is different, so you must check your state’s eviction laws. Some states require the landlord or a representative of the landlord to serve the Notice to Quit in person. Often, you can send the tenant the Notice to Quit by first-class certified mail instead of serving it in person. I

n other states, a tenant must be formally served this Notice. In this case, you must pay a state marshal to serve this Notice.

When Must You Serve a Notice to Quit?

The reason you are evicting a tenant will determine how far in advance of filing for an eviction you must serve the Notice to Quit. In almost all cases, this Notice must be served a minimum of three days before you are able to file for an eviction. Some reasons could require as much as a year’s notice.

Often, you must first serve a tenant with a Notice to Cease before you can serve them with a Notice to Quit. For example, you may serve a tenant with a Notice to Cease if they are disrupting other tenants in the building. If they continue this behavior after receiving this Notice to Cease, you can then serve them with a Notice to Quit.

Outcome

After serving a tenant Notice to Quit, you will have to wait for one of two results:

  • Tenant Obeys Notice- The tenant may receive the notice and realize that you mean business. If they were behind on their rent, they may become current on their rent in the hope that you will accept the rent and allow them to remain in the property. If they are unable to remedy the behavior that is breaching the lease, the tenant will voluntarily move out of the rental property before having to go to court. Many tenants do not want an eviction on their record, so will leave before being formally evicted in court.
  • Tenant Disregards Notice- Sometimes you will serve a tenant a Notice to Quit and the tenant will disregard it. They understand that it can take more than a month to go before the court and get formally evicted. The tenant is trying to buy time because they have nowhere else to go or because they are willing to fight it out in court as they do not believe they have done anything wrong.