The 10 Types of Notices for Every Landlord

Written on June 3, 2015 by , updated on June 6, 2015

Types of NoticesYou’d be amazed at the stories I’ve heard from fellow landlords over the past two years of running Landlordology.

From the dirty cat lady to the lucrative traveling tenant who is rarely home, but never misses a rent payment. From meth labs to prohibited subletters, a landlord has to be ready for anything.

My 7 Cardinal Rules

The good news is there are really only seven “Cardinal Rules” for successful property management (in my opinion):

  1. Screen well and don’t discriminate.
  2. Make rent payments easy and automatic.
  3. Have a rock-solid lease and stick to it.
  4. Always give proper notice before entering.
  5. Be fair, honest, and make timely repairs.
  6. Know how and when to use “notices.”
  7. Only withhold the deposit for actual, itemized damages (material or financial).

Obviously, property management is more complicated and involved than these seven rules, but following them will put you above 99.9 percent of other managers, and help to ensure your success.

In this article, I’m going to review rule six – knowing how and when to use the different types of notices.

The 10 Different Types of Notices

The industry best practice is to send a formal notice via Certified Mail/Return Receipt Requested, via the US Postal Service. Certified mail is the only proof of delivery that most courts will accept, apart from a registered server.

1. Notice to Pay or Quit

“Pay up within X days, or move out because I’m terminating your lease.”

When a tenant doesn’t pay rent when it’s due (plus any grace period), the landlord can send a warning notice that basically says “Pay up within X days, or move out because I’m terminating your lease”.

This notice does not give a landlord permission to change the locks on a tenant or cut off the utilities. You would still have to go through the formal eviction process to have the unlawful tenants removed by the police.

Most states have their own rules on exactly how much notice a landlord must give a tenant. Generally, only three to five days notice is required. Our state law guides will help you research your state’s specific rules.

2. Notice to Cure or Quit

“Fix the violation within X days, or move out because I’m terminating your lease.”

If a tenant violates a condition, clause, or rule within the lease agreement, a landlord can provide them with a notice that says “Fix the violation within X days, or move out because I’m terminating your lease.”

The most common lease violations are:

  • Unapproved subletters/roommates
  • Unapproved pets
  • Unapproved renovation or use of the property

If the tenant remedies the violation, then he or she can stay in the property, and the lease continues as normal.

3. Unconditional Quit Notice

nervous-girl

“Your lease is being terminated in X days because of __________.”

In the previous two notices, a tenant is allowed a specific number of days to fix the problem. With an unconditional quit notice, a tenant is not given the opportunity to stay, even if they remedy the issue.

It doesn’t forgive their sins (i.e. unpaid rent or noise violations), but it just means that they won’t be allowed to stay even if they pay up or keep quiet.

The most common situations where a landlord can serve an unconditional quit notice are:

  • The tenant has been late on rent more than once.
  • The tenant participated in a serious illegal activity (such as drug dealing) on the premises.
  • The tenant caused serious damage to the rental property, or damage that cannot be remedied.
  • The tenant has repeated the offense or violation (noise disturbances, pet hoarding, etc).

Because an unconditional quit notice is considered to be the most harsh of all the notices, not all states allow for it. Even those that do specifically restrict its use to certain situations.

4. Offer of Renewal

“Your fixed-term lease is set to expire on MM/DD/YYYY, and I’m pleased to offer you a renewal.”

Because most fixed-term leases don’t auto-renew (hence the point of having an end date), the landlord and tenant must sign a renewal agreement in order for the tenancy to continue.

If I want to renew a lease, I’ll notify the tenant of the offer 60-80 days before the end of their current lease. This is because I require 60 days notice of non-renewal from my tenant, so I want to make sure they have enough time to consider their options and are still able to give proper notice if they choose not to stay.

Please, please, please don’t be that landlord who requires 60 days notice of non-renewal but then doesn’t present them with a renewal offer in time – that’s just not fair.

5. Notice of Non-Renewal

“Your lease or monthly rental agreement is set to expire on MM/DD/YYYY, and a renewal will not be offered. You will be expected to vacate on or before MM/DD/YYYY.”

Any time you want to terminate a daily/monthly/weekly/yearly periodic lease, you’ll need to send a notice of non-renewal. It’s also commonly called a no-cause eviction, because the landlord and tenant can terminate a periodic lease, with proper notice, at any time.

If you have a fixed-term lease, but it auto-renews, and you’d rather it not, then you should use this notice as well.

Again, every state has rules on how much notice is required for periodic leases. The amount of notice required varies from 7-60 days for a monthly lease, so be sure to check out your state laws.

6. Notice of Rent Increase

“Your rent will increase to $X, an increase of X%, starting on DATE.”

Raising the rent is tricky business. If you raise it too high, your tenants will leave. If you don’t raise it at all, you’ll lose money due to inflation.

If you do raise the rent, you need to send proper notice to the tenant, which is usually 30-60 days in advance, depending on your state laws.

My suggestion is reward great tenants by not raising the rent, and then make up the difference when they finally vacate.

For example, if I have an excellent tenant named Bill, who renews twice (three-year tenancy) and I don’t raise the rent 3 percent every year, I can still make up the difference (relatively), by increasing the rent 10 percent for Sookie, who moves in after Bill vacates. Bill is happy and might stay longer. Sookie is none-the-wiser, and I kept a great tenant for three years, whereas he might have moved out after one year if I had tried to raise the rent.

Related: Don’t Always Raise the Rent

7. Notice of Entry/Intent to Enter

“I’ll be stopping by between 2-6pm on Saturday, July 4th, to perform the annual inspection and photograph the property”

Most states, but not all, require that you give proper notice before setting foot on the premises. Meaning, if you just want to walk around the back yard, you still need to give notice.

Even if your state doesn’t have a requirement to give prior notice before entering the property, the industry best practice is to give 24 hours notice.

Most of my intent to enter notices are sent via email or text, but if I don’t get a confirmation from them, I’ll send a postal letter if there is enough time.

Related: Ask Lucas 016: What are the Rules for Entering and Showing an Occupied Property?

8. Notice of Intent to Dispose of Abandoned Personal Property

trash-on-street

“Come pick up your stuff, or I’m going to sell it/throw it out/put it in storage.”

Again, each state is different in how it requires landlords to deal with the abandoned personal property of a tenant. Some states require a landlord to send a 30-day letter to the last known address. Others allow a landlord to throw out or sell the belongings immediately after the tenant has abandoned the premises.

Though I always tell my tenants to remove their “Trash AND Treasures,” selling the tenant’s abandoned fish tank can sometimes mitigate the financial damages that the tenant caused.

9. Notice of Repairs/Renovations/Outages

“A contractor will be changing out the electrical panel on Friday, and the power will be out all day.”

This type of notice is often combined with the “Notice of Entry” because someone usually has to enter the property to make the repair.

If you will be cutting off essential services, such as water, electricity, or heat for more than a day, you should consider relocating the tenants to a hotel (at your expense) until the repair is complete.

Without access to essential services, a dwelling is considered uninhabitable.

10. Notice of Transfer of Ownership/Management

“Effective immediately, I have transferred ownership of the property to Mr. Smith. He, or his agent, will contact you soon to provide instructions for your rent.”

When a property is sold, the lease is transferred to the new owner.

Despite what some landlords would like to believe, a lease doesn’t automatically terminate upon the sale of a property. The new owner becomes the new landlord, and the tenant is usually allowed to finish out the rest of their lease.

I rarely give the contact information of the new owner to the tenants, because, quite frankly, I don’t know if the new owner wants to be contacted. As the new owner of the property, he or she can decide if they want to be an active participant, or a silent investor.

The new owner certainly has the right to stay anonymous, and hide behind a property management company, if they choose. I leave it up to the new owner to make contact with the tenants, and to dictate how he/she wants to manage the property.

You can also use this type of notice if you change management companies.

Related: Ask Lucas 006: Is a Lease Terminated when the Property is Sold?

Where to Get These Notices

Though I’d love to give you my personal notices, they wouldn’t work in every state. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite vendors for legal notices. They vary greatly in price, but these links will get you started.

Please know that I DO NOT receive any revenue from these companies, nor am I affiliated with them in any way. I simply think that they each provide a great product, and I hope you find them helpful.

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34 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • ted budding

    I have a month to month lease I would like more information on how to handle when to rent is not pay on time

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Ted

      Generally speaking, you would send a “Notice to Pay or Quit” when a tenant doesn’t pay rent – as described above. You’d need to check you state’s laws about how much notice is required: https://landlordology.com/state-laws

      Also, even if he tenant paid on time, either party could terminate a month to month lease for any reason, with proper notice. Again, the amount of notice is regulated by your state.

  • Polly

    I have a rental in Maricopa Arizona, was going to have ahwatukee Realty property manage, put tenants in home Feb 13 without me signing property manage agreement and signed a rental agreement on my behalf. Never got rental app. backround/credit/DL#’s/SS#s until March16, 2015. They have all security deposits, collected rent from March as well as prorated from Feb and paid broker fees for 2 years. Also replaced shower doors without my knowledge or getting estimates and charging me 348.00. They finally sent me a check for 897.58 have not cashed cuz I’m owed 2087.18 I’m going to self manage but need to know on new lease I’m preparing for tenants, is a 250 cleaning fee nonrefundable? Meanwhile I’m sending a complaint package to AZREB for an investigation. Original lease is for 2 years, due to the accounting mess they decided to do a 1year lease. I have new lease prepared but Ahwatukee did not put the 250.00 cleaning fee under nonrefundable charges. previous leases has under nonrefundable

  • Terri

    This article is great. I filed it with my “keepers”. Thank you Lucas.
    How would you handle a short term. I rent an apt. sometimes weekly between longer term tenants. What if someone overstays their term? This has not happened yet but it is always a concern.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Terri,

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. Many states regulate the amount of notice required to terminate a weekly rental. It’s usually 7 days notice if the weekly rental auto-renews.

      https://www.landlordology.com/state-laws

      However, anytime a tenant stays past the last day of their agreement, a landlord can file for eviction immediately – since the tenant doesn’t have the right to be there anymore. But eviction court can take 3-8 weeks, which seems silly to just remove a tenant who might have only been there for a week or two. If you get a squatter who won’t move out no matter what, the formal eviction process is really your only process.

      But if you can bargain with them, you could try something called “cash for keys”, if you can get over the emotional side of it: https://www.landlordology.com/cash-for-keys-bad-tenants-move-out/

      Great question! I hope that helps. Please know that I’m certainly not a lawyer, nor is this legal advice – it’s just friendly advice :)

  • Mary Potter

    I have a tenant who changed the locks and refuses to give me a key because I may try to enter the property without her permission.. She is unusually paranoid .. Is it legal for her to do that.. I read in one state that was grounds for eviction.. I am in Georgia..

  • Jimmy

    Great article!

  • David Brand

    This is a very helpful article.
    I have a situation where the tenant just abandoned my rental altogether. (basically he left and is nowhere to be found)
    I’ve send him a notice to all addresses i know (including his parents), but have not heard anything for more than 2 weeks.
    Can i just go in and claim back my apartment and start looking for a new tenant or do i still need an attorney to evict a ghost?
    I’m in California.
    Thanks in advance.
    Dave

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi David,

      Generally speaking, if you’ve made a reasonable attempt to try and notify the tenant, and you have evidence to suggest that he is never coming back, then yes you usually can reclaim the property. However, you would have to safeguard the personal property and provide notice on that as well.

      But please talk to lawyer first (which I am not). Each state/county has their on laws, and some are more strict than others. This might help you out: http://www.landlordology.com/state-laws

      Good luck!

  • Cyndi

    My renters are 9 months into their lease and have paid rent late 50% of the months. I mailed the Quit or Pay Notice, via certified mail, on 10/03/2015. I elected to mail “without the signature required” and only regular certified mail so I can track delivery. Is this sufficent to file in court after the 10th calendar day or did I need to send via certified signature card? State is Arizona.

  • Brenda

    Hi Lucas,
    I sent a certified letter (with receipt) to inform my tenants that I will not be renewing their lease. I tracked the letter electronically and know that an attempt was made to deliver it with no one at home and the mailman left a notice. The letter has been sitting at the post office for several days. What if they won’t pick it up? We are used to communicate by e-mail, is that an acceptable form of notice as well? I am in Massachusetts. Thanks.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Brenda,

      Most of the time, I think email is acceptable if you have some sort of reply from them (although I’m not a lawyer). Otherwise, you could just try to hand deliver it yourself and record it with your phone or take a witness.

  • Jamal Glover

    I live in Flint, Michigan
    I bought a house from The Land Bank… I let my mother move in with no lease rent free and she started destroying my property… I sent her a notice to quit through registered mail… It came back to me unopened with REFUSED written on the envelope! How do I handle this situation? Once again there is no lease or money involved… I’m at my wit’s end what do I do?

  • paul

    I am curious to know how much time does a landlord have to give you if any that they will be spray washing the parking lot where your cars are parked.because my car is now covered in debris from the sprayer.

  • Roz Simms

    I think these articles are great! Thank you for sharing!

  • Jamie j

    I have a notice from landlord saying to enter for verification of occupancy what does that mean ? Do I have to be here when they enter?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jamie,

      That just means they want to verify that you are still living there, and that you aren’t using the unit in an unapproved way – like housing unapproved subletters.

      A tenant doesn’t have to be present when a landlord wants to enter (assuming they have given proper notice ahead of time). However, the tenant always has the right to be present if they want to.

  • Star

    My landlord sent a certified letter containing a 30 notice and I never signed for it. After the 30 days they came and told me to vacate by 4 p.m. They came at 11:30 that day. I only know about the 30 days because rubbery told me they sent a certified letter with notice. They also know I never signed for it. I have 2 kids 1 who just turned a year old and is very sick. Around the time they sent the certified letter I was in the hospital with him. He was there for 10 days. I tried to contact the landlord about my child and me not being home and the lady said i never did that but its documented. But my question is since I never received the noticed, can they legally throw me out? I only had a few hours to leave.

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Star

      Sorry to hear about the situation.

      I don’t think certified letters need to be signed by them. They will have proof that you received it because the postal service delivered it certified. As sorry as I am to hear about your child being in the hospital, it is not related to the eviction notice. If you want to fight it, I suggest you talk to a lawyer or wait until they take you to eviction court where you can talk to a judge.
      Please know that I’m not a lawyer nor is this legal advice. Good luck to you.

  • DONNA

    If you manage rental properties, are you required to give the tenant’s personal info to the owner of the rental property if they request it….. Location NC thanks

  • felipe

    Lucas,

    I have sent a notice letter to the management of the apartment i rent here in New york, stating that Im breaking the lease due to the foul smell that comes everyday from near restaurants. Now can i terminate my lease early under warranty of habitability?

  • Liza

    We own a two family house and the second floor apartment in it is rented out to a family. They were three of them (a couple and one child) in the beginning, but the family grew into family of six (three kids now plus the grandmother who comes and stays sometimes) over the course of 4.5 years. As we occupy the first floor, the noise has been a big issue with three children upstairs. We feel the need to do something about it by redoing the flooring and and we would use the opportunity to give much-needed upgrade to the old kitchen and bathroom. Can the eviction letter mention how much the rent will be if the tenant does intend to reoccupy after the renovation as a headsup, or it should be on a separate notice.

  • Sheryl

    My rental home is under property management. My new tenant that is now living in the home since 3/17, and is on a years lease. They have not complied with the lease agreement that they are responsible for the upkeep of the yard. I have asked them several time to clean the yard to no avail. The property manager won’t do anything about it also, Please tell me what I can do about it? Can I evict them even though they have a years lease for none compliance of the rental agreement? I’m at a loss, Please help!

    Thank you,

  • Cynthia Vollmer

    My brother and I were co-Trustees to our parents property. There was a verbal agreement between us two that he could continue living in the house rent free, at the end of 3 yrs he was to buy me out. This did not happen. Long story short, I had him removed as co-Trustee, I am now sole-Trustee and need to sell the house he is still occupying. Apparently I have become an accidental landlord. I had to serve him with a 60 day notice of termination of tenancy which he ignored (past the deadline) now I’m trying to serve him a “Unlawful Detainer” but my server has been unsuccessful for 2 weeks now (6 attempts), He wont answer the door and I’m now reading about all the different doc’c he can file just to stay longer. I just want to sell the house.

  • Stan

    I have a tenant that just moved into a residence that I manage. Everything was working fine on the date of move in. They moved the electric range and a wire came loose , causing damage to the range and to the main breaker box in the home. The owner is willing to pay 50% and have the tenant pay 50%, since nobody is sure who actually caused the damage. Can we charge the tenant and what if they refuse to pay half??? What can I the manager and owner do at that point? Take the money out of the deposit?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Stan

      Ultimately, the landlord is responsible for providing a working stove. So, the priority is to fix or replace the stove and the landlords should front that cost. Afterwards, they can argue over reimbursement.

      If the tenant is unwilling to send you any money, then the only solution is to withhold it from the deposit. However, my suggestion (not legal advice), would be to only withhold money from the deposit if you can prove that the tenant caused the damage, and be able to back it up if you go to court. If you can’t “prove” it, then it’s not worth the trouble. Just pay for it and move on.

  • Muhammad Arslan

    Good Article .

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