It's always worrying when I hear people mention notice to quit forms as if it's the one and same thing. It's not - Whether you are pushing for a forceful eviction or a peaceful termination, there is a different notice to quit for each occasion. Join me as we dig deeper into the major types of eviction notice forms and lease termination letters:
Pay or Quit Notice: If You are Evicting Someone for Unpaid Rent
Had enough of all the sob stories and colorful excuses that your tenant is cooking up to avoid the rent? Then put an end to the nonsense with a notice to pay or quit - A formal way of saying, "Cough up the rent quick... or pack your bags and go."
By law, you will need to give your tenant a final warning letter before evicting him or her - Our pay or quit notice happens to be this last chance. A 3 day notice to pay or quit (tenant has 3 day to pay the rent) is most common, but it can stretch up to 5 days if your local laws are more tenant-friendly.
As you can tell, dishing out a pay or quit notice is a big move - You should only do it if you are prepared to evict your tenant. If you are blessed with an excellent tenant who's late with the rent for the first time in two years, a milder late rent notice should be enough as a gentle reminder.
Notice to Comply or Quit: To Uproot and Evict a Trouble Maker
Whether it's by accident or by choice, your tenants may break the rules from the time to time. This can mean breaching the your lease agreement terms or running afoul of your landlord-tenant laws.
While little mistakes can be often looked over or settled with a simple phone call, the more serious and persistent violations that scream "eviction!"... needs to be handled with a written comply or quit notice. Some of the more "popular" violations include keeping pets without your permission, housing squatters and racking up property damages.
Whether you like it or not, you will still have to give your tenant a final deadline (3 to 5 days) to clean up the mess. Before you can kick start evictions, you must hand this notice to your tenant. If your tenant doesn't make corrections, then you have the green light to take legal action.
Notice to Vacate: Peaceful, Formal Method of Ending Your Lease
Not all notice to quit forms end up and smoke and hostile evictions: Sometimes you just want a notice to quit that allows you to end a lease painlessly. In this case, a 30 day notice to vacate is the very form you will need. Since this is not an eviction notice, it's not something just for landlords. It's available to tenants as well.
Of course a notice to vacate isn't an escape hatch for you to terminate any lease at any time. It only works if you have a month to month lease, verbal lease or a fixed term lease that is expiring soon. For certain types of tenants (e.g. elderly, government subsidized), you may have to grant them a longer deadline of at least 60 days.
As always I have save the best (tip) for last: It's not just which notice to quit you choose, but how you deliver it (we call it proof of service). In short, you don't want to give the other party a chance to say, " Notice? what notice? I didn't receive anything from you." Just to play it safe, I recommend that you either hand over the notice in person or send it by registered mail.